Modi has a snooping habit, I was told to tap Vaghela: Sreekumar

Narendra ModiGujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. (AP)

Former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar on Tuesday claimed that he had been asked to tap the phone of Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela in 2002, but he had refused. "Many" officers in the state, however, act as directed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Sreekumar said.

The former IPS officer, who has been taking on Modi, on Tuesday filed a criminal defamation and conspiracy suit against the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, party chief Rajnath Singh, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi and space scientist Nambi Narayanan, accusing them of carrying out a malicious campaign against him over the

ISRO spying case.

Narayanan has blamed Sreekumar, then an IB officer in Kerala, for the charges that resulted in his being sent to prison and an end to his career, but which were ultimately thrown out by the Supreme Court. The BJP has accused Sreekumar of cooking up the case against Narayanan at the behest of the CIA.

"I was asked by the (then) chief secretary to tap Vaghela's phone, who said that it was on the orders of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. I refused to do so but Modi has been using the state machinery to conduct such surveillance," Sreekumar told reporters on Tuesday. He was reacting to recent allegations that Modi's aide Amit Shah had ordered the Gujarat ATS to mount illegal surveillance on a woman.

Sreekumar said that when he was ADG (Intelligence) in Gujarat, he was also asked to snoop on Haren Pandya, one of Modi's detractors who was shot dead in Ahmedabad in 2003.

"I was also asked to carry out surveillance on BJP leader Haren Pandya. There are many officers in Gujarat who act on the directions of the CM. Modi is not ungrateful, and rewards the officers who are loyal to him," Sreekumar, who retired as the state's police chief in 2007, said. Since leaving his job, Sreekumar has filed nine affidavits in Gujarat riots cases.

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