Suspended IAS officer to request SC to take cognizance of tapes in snooping row

ModiTwo news portals have alleged illegal surveillance of a woman architect by the Gujarat ATS in 2009 on the instructions of Narendra Modi's close aide Amit Shah.

Pradeep Sharma, the suspended IAS officer who is also a staunch critic of the Modi government, is likely to request the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the audio tapes aired by news portals Cobrapost and Gulail featuring alleged illegal surveillance of a woman architect.

The news portals have claimed that the surveillance was conducted by the Gujarat ATS in 2009 on the instructions of Amit Shah, a close aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and who was then minister of state for home.

Sharma, who filed a writ petition before the apex court in 2011 seeking transfer of the case against him from Gujarat Police to the CBI, had cited his (Sharma's) "knowledge" about the woman and her association with the government the same woman purportedly referred to in the audio tapes as one of the reasons for his ouster.

His case is likely to come up before the SC on Tuesday.

The tapes were reportedly submitted by suspended IPS officer G L Singhal, an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, to the CBI.

Hours after the tapes were aired last Friday, the BJP had issued a statement from the woman's father, identified as Pranlal Soni, that he had "orally requested" Modi to "take care" of his daughter.

Sharma claims this is an old letter. He told The Indian Express: "My conjecture is that they obtained the letter from the father in 2011 and, in panic, released it after the tapes were aired." Sharma, who was arrested in January 2010, had written a letter to then Gujarat Chief Secretary A K Joti on January 19, 2011, requesting that his cases to be transferred to the CBI. In that letter as in the affidavit to the Supreme Court he had claimed that the state government had taken "vindictive actions" against him because he was aware of the woman.

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