M A I N   N E W S

Gadkari snooping row: Oppn wants JPC probe
Congress leads the charge
Rajnath says media reports false
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30
Allegations of snooping at the residence of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today rocked both Houses of Parliament with the Congress demanding a detailed inquiry saying this was like the snooping done by Gujarat Government on its people and MPs.

Demanding an impartial probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), the Congress-led Opposition caused four adjournments — two each during Question Hour and Zero Hour. Repeated pleas of the Chair went unheaded as the Congress-led Opposition remained adamant on a discussion and a thorough probe into the matter through a JPC.

The government has so far dismissed media reports on the matter terming them as baseless.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh maintained that media reports on the issue were false. "There is no truth in those media reports. The minister (Gadkari) too has termed the reports as baseless and factually incorrect." The home minister also said no high-powered listening device was found at Gadkari's residence.

A section of the media had reported that listening devices had been found at the residence of Gadkari and also at the homes of Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The Congress has decided not to accept the version of the government and sought a credible enquiry adding that it would raise the issue in Parliament tomorrow.

Party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said, “Either there should be an inquiry to clear the air or the PM should reply in the Parliament putting the record straight. After all, several BJP leaders have claimed that such bugging was going on since October last year.”

Ahmed wondered how the home minister could say that no bugging took place at Gadkari's residence without actually verifying facts though a probe. "There are reports that the houses of home minister and that of the foreign minister were also bugged. We want a credible inquiry," Ahmed said.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Congress Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue asking who was behind snooping and cited a report from Gujarat saying as many as 29,000 people were tapped.

The Congress will give a notice for suspension of question hour in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow to raise the issue.

In the Rajya Sabha, Congress leaders alleged that the methods used in Gujarat to keep tabs on ministers and MPs were being employed at the Centre — a charge rejected by Rajnath Singh.

Deputy Leader of Congress Anand Sharma alleged that the government was allowing tapping of telephones on a large scale. “We do not know how many telephones have been bugged. This matter cannot be overlooked by us. This is a serious matter. Who has allowed it? Our demand is a thorough probe to unearth the truth. It has to be discussed in the House”.

Govt must clear the air: Congress

There is no truth in the media reports. The minister (Gadkari) too has termed the reports as baseless and factually incorrect.
—Rajnath Singh, union home minister

Either there should be an inquiry to clear the air or the PM should reply in Parliament. After all, several BJP leaders have claimed of such bugging.
— Shakeel Ahmed, congress spokesperson





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