Snooping row: Centre to probe alleged misuse of state machinery
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The Centre on Sunday said that it will inquire into alleged misuse of state machinery in Gujarat in the wake of alleged "snooping" on a woman from the state allegedly at the behest of Amit Shah, a close aide of BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
The illegal surveillance on the woman architect, allegedly by the Gujarat Police was apparently in violation of phone tapping rules as it was reportedly carried out without the mandatory permission from the Centre when she went out of the state.
Asked if Modi should face prosecution for alleged misuse of state machinery, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said "inquiry will be conducted about all this and decision will be taken".
"Union and State Home secretaries have been authorised to take action against (illegal) snooping," he said in Mumbai.
BJP sources said the party would not like to respond to Shinde's remark for the moment.
Sources said a state Home Secretary is empowered to order phone tapping of a person within the state but when the surveillance is carried out in multiple states, permission of Union Home Secretary is mandatory.
The Gujarat Police seems to have tapped the telephone of the woman when she was even in Maharashtra and Karnataka, besides Gujarat, without taking any authorisation from Union Home Secretary, the sources said.
The Gujarat government has already constituted an inquiry committee headed by a retied judge of the Gujarat High Court.
Congress has been demanding an independent investigation into the alleged illegal surveillance of the woman.
Congress has been maintaining that the episode raised questions about the Gujarat Chief Minister's alleged disregard for law and intrusion into the privacy of the woman concerned whose family hailed from Kutch. The party questioned the use of state agencies like anti-terrorist squad and state intelligence to keep tabs on the woman.