4 years before Amit Shah 'snooping,' officer raised red flag on 'shocking tapping'

SnoopingFour years before the Gujarat Police put a woman under illegal surveillance allegedly on the orders of Amit Shah, a senior IPS officer had put on record that “telephone tapping” was rampant in the state.

Four years before the Gujarat Police put a woman under illegal surveillance allegedly on the orders of Amit Shah, a senior IPS officer had put on record that "telephone tapping" was rampant in the state — and was being done by even "police inspectors and police sub-inspectors".

In a letter dated April 21, 2005, Rajnish Kumar Rai, the then deputy commissioner (intelligence) posted in Surat, referred to a letter written on July 13, 2004 by the then additional director general (Intelligence), J Mohapatra, to the state home department, seeking complete details of telephone intercepts from six service providers.

Referring to Mohapatra's letter, Rai noted: "In the said letter, in the recent past units like Anti-Terrorist Squad; Crime Branch, Ahmedabad; DCP, Zone-11, Ahmedabad; SP, Valsad; SP, Vadodara (Rural), etc. have resorted to telephone interception in flagrant disregard to rules/guidelines/provisions. It is shocking to know that officers of the rank of police inspectors and police sub-inspectors have also resorted to telephone tapping..."

Rai, who had been tasked with drafting a code for telephone interception for the state police, sent the letter along with the proposed code to the Gujarat director-general of police.

The letter mentioned various rules and guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and the central Department of Telecommunications, which he said were being violated in Gujarat.

"Of late, there have been controversies and allegations of illegal telephone interception of political functionaries by the government. To avoid such controversies and allegations in future and to ensure that the power of telephone interception is not exercised in an arbitrary, freakish or bizarre manner, it is felt that we must codify the practice of interception of communication in detail," Rai wrote.

Rai, a 1992-batch IPS officer who was transferred from his original Orissa cadre to Gujarat, had infuriated the Narendra Modi government by arresting IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in April 2007.

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