Name of judge heading Commission of Inquiry to probe snoopgate likely soon

ChidambaramUnion Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (PTI)

Government is likely to announce the name of the judge shortly who will head the Commission of Inquiry to probe charges of spying on a young woman in 2009 allegedly at the behest of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Union Cabinet had on December 26 decided to set up the Commission of Inquiry to probe into the Gujarat snoopgate. It will also look into charges of snooping on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh by the previous BJP government when he was in the opposition as well as the leaking of the Call Data Records (CDR) of BJP leader Arun Jaitley in Delhi.

When asked about the delay in notifying the CoI, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here that before appointing a judge, government will have to get his or her consent.

"Last three-four days have been virtually holidays. I think the Law Minister will make the announcement in the next couple of days," he said.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had requested Law Minister Kapil Sibal to recommend a retired judge to head the probe panel.

Chidambaram also rejected suggestions that government was finding it difficult to name a judge for the probe panel. "There is no difficulty," he said.

Brushing aside opposition from BJP and the Gujarat government, the Union Cabinet took the decision under the Commissions of Inquiry Act under which the Modi government has already set up a similar panel.

"The Cabinet has approved a proposal to set up a Commission of Inquiry under Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, to look into the incidents of physical/electronic surveillance in the states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, allegedly without authorisation," an official release had said.

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