Snooping: Pradeep Sharma lodges complaint, but cops refuse to register FIR against Modi
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The snooping case came to light when two news portals, cobrapost.com and gulail.com, showed tapes of purported conversations between Amit Shah, suspended SP Girish Singhal and A K Sharma in 2009 where Shah was allegedly heard giving instructions to snoop on a woman architect under instructions from one "Saheb".
Sharma stated that he was an aggrieved party and had the local standi to file an FIR in this matter. A local court in Ahmedabad had last week passed an order accepting the jurisdiction in the case.
A few hours after filing the application with Gandhinagar police, Sharma told this newspaper, "I have filed a complaint against the chief minister, Amit Shah, A K Sharma and other policemen who were helping them in snooping. I have submitted evidences of audio clippings of the two websites supporting the complaint." Interestingly, according to Sharma, Singhal is not an accused in the snooping scandal. "Singhal is rather a witness for me in the case so I have not mentioned him as an accused," Sharma said.
When Sharma approached the police on Monday afternoon, he was told that the police could not accept his complaint as a commission of inquiry had already been set up. After receiving a negative response from Sector 7 police station, he approached the Gandhinagar S P office. Sharad Singhal, Gandhinagar SP, said, "Sharma's application was accepted, but no FIR could be registered because a special committee has already been appointed to investigate the case. When a committee is already probing the matter, the police don't need to investigate into it". However, Sharma claimed that the constitution of the inquiry committee had got nothing to do with a criminal activity. According to Sharma, if a criminal case takes place, an FIR has to be filed.
The state government had set up an inquiry commission on November 26, after it came under attack over the alleged surveillance of the woman by Opposition parties and civil society organisations. The commission -- comprising retired Gujarat High Court judge Sugnya K Bhatt (who is heading it) and former Additional Chief Secretary K C Kapoor--- has been asked to submit its report within three months. On December 26, the Centre had decided to set up another inquiry commission as the incidents of physical and electronic surveillance had occurred in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, allegedly without authorisation.
Sharma told reporters outside the police station, "The commission of inquiry and police investigations are two different things. First, they would have to register a complaint of criminal offence and conduct investigation based on it. The findings of the investigations carried out by the commission will be placed in the state Assembly."
Sharma had also filed a defamation suit against columnist-activist Madhu Kishwar in the scandal, alleging that she dragged his name in the row and tried to sully his image through comments on Twitter and on TV channels. In her tweets and during debates, Kishwar had alleged that the suspended bureaucrat was harassing the woman architect due to which her father asked for police protection. An IAS officer of the 1984 batch, Sharma has been facing six criminal cases in Gujarat. He has claimed he is being victimised by the state government for his knowledge of the "intimacy" shared by Modi with the woman architect, the subject of surveillance.
'Documents forged to intercept phones'
Ahmedabad: In his complaint (a copy of which is with this paper), Sharma wrote, "It is also clear that false documents were created and used in official and legal ways for ulterior reasons, in order to enable the interception of the telephones. In order to mount illegal telephonic surveillance on (name withheld) who was not an accused or wanted in any case, or for that matter on me, documents were forged to deceive service providers to intercept telephone conversations and provide the intercepted data to the accused, including the police officers involved, who used for private and illegal purposes the government equipment placed under their trust for legal interceptions of telephones. Moreover, the physical surveillance of the woman architect intruded her privacy. Furthermore, the accused persons disobeyed rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951. These facts constitute a criminal offence under various sections of penal law." Besides Singhal, Sharma has made CBI deputy S P G Kalaimani (investigating officer of Ishrat Jahan case) as his witness.
Will soon appoint SC judge to probe snooping charge: Shinde
A retired judge of the Supreme Court would be appointed "soon" to probe charges of spying on a young woman by Gujarat government in 2009, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said. "The Union ministry has decided to set up an inquiry commission and a retired Supreme Court judge would be appointed soon to head the probe panel", Shinde told reporters on the sidelines of a function in the Union Territory of Diu, around 215 km from here.
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