'Snoopgate' probe likely to be given quiet burial
The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government \'s move to order a probe into the snoopgate controversy may get a quiet burial in the new regime.
New Delhi: The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government 's move to order a probe into the snoopgate controversy may get a quiet burial in the new regime.
The Union home ministry is likely to approach the Cabinet soon to abandon the plan, putting a lid on a row that kicked up a political storm during the campaigning phase of the recently concluded general elections.
A note will be presented before the Union Cabinet to scrap the December 26, 2013, order to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the charges of surveillance on a young woman in 2009 in Gujarat, official sources said.
The snooping controversy had surfaced in the run-up to the assembly elections late last year after two investigative news websites made public tapes in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aide, Amit Shah, was purportedly heard directing the police to put a young woman and a senior IAS officer under surveillance.
BJP had strongly opposed the controversial move by the then Manmohan Singh government and demanded that the probe be stopped as a parallel inquiry had been ordered into the matter by Gujarat government.
The UPA government's decision to set up the inquiry triggered a political row, and Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister, came under attack from political rivals during the campaigning phase.
It was announced that the commission, to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired chief justice of a high court, would 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 of Arun Jaitley, now the Union finance minister, in Delhi.
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju in the Modi government has already indicated that the "politically-motivated" decision to set up the inquiry commission will be reviewed by the National Democratic Alliance government.
Days before the announcement of Lok Sabha election results, Jaitley, then in the opposition, had slammed the UPA's "desperate" last-minute decisions, referring to the issue of the appointment of a judge for the snoopgate commission.
The UPA, however, had finally left the decision to the new government. Reports suggest that as no retired judge was willing to head the probe commission, the UPA government had to abandon the plan to appoint the same.
The woman in question and her father had recently approached the Supreme Court, seeking to stall the Centre's commission as well as the two-member panel constituted by the Gujarat government.