M A I N   N E W S

Centre tapping my phone calls, alleges Jayalalithaa
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, January 5
Even while the Amar Singh phone tapping controversy continues to rock the Central Government, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today dropped a bombshell alleging that her telephones were also being tapped by the Centre.

After a meting with Samajvadi Party general secretary Amar Singh at the state secretariat here, Ms Jayalalithaa said, “I have so far refrained from making this public because I know that there would be a flat denial by the Centre.”

She said since Mr Amar Singh had furnished “solid proof” that the Centre had organised the tapping of the telephone of an opposition political leader and demanded that there should be an immediate impartial inquiry into the entire matter and a detailed investigation to uncover the conspiracy behind this.

She said, “What was immediately required was that the Centre should own up responsibility at once.”

Describing the phone-tapping incident as “shocking and outrageous,” Ms Jayalalithaa said it was shocking to see the level to which the Central Government “can sink in trying to settle scores with its political opponents”.

The chief minister said, “This is the most disgraceful and serious issue which clearly violates the basic guarantee of freedom of speech and right to life enshrined in the Constitution.

“Political adversaries should be faced politically, that is, in electoral battles and not through this kind of surreptitious and underhand surveillance,” she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa further said, “It also raises the question that if it can happen to Mr Amar Singh, it can happen to every opposition leader in the country. Does it mean that all those who do not agree with the policies of the government have to be treated as enemies and hounded as dreaded criminals?”

She said, “The evidence (in Amar Singh’s case) is clinching and unassailable. Such matters are taking place with impunity in our country after the UPA government assumed office. It is time to put a stop to such nefarious and underhand practices which have no place in a democracy.”

After his meeting with Ms Jayalalithaa, Mr Aman Singh told reporters that he would move the Supreme Court soon demanding an impartial inquiry into the phone tapping issue.

Reiterating his charge that his telephones were tapped at the behest of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he said “I will drag all concerned to the court and prove my point.”

Dismissing Congress general secretary Ambika Soni’s suggestion for a CBI probe into the issue, Mr Singh pointed out that the CBI had given a clean chit to former Union Petroleum Minister Satish Sharma in the petroleum scam after the UPA came to power Centre and that it also cleared former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP leader Mayawati in the Taj corridor scam.

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