Snooping not the same as security: Gohil
Shaktisinh GohilL: Snooping Not The Same As Security, BJP PM Candidate Narendra Modi. The Congress has landed a big issue to go to the people against...
In this case of illegal phone-tapping and stalking of a 32-year-old woman at the instance of Modii, the BJP is not able to find any defence and it has managed to have a baseless letter from the father of the woman that he does not want to lodge any complaint and there should not be any investigation in the case,” former Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil, in an exclusive interview to The Hans India, told Venkat Parsa.
How can you say that keeping a tab on someone is a crime?
The Supreme Court has given guidelines for tapping a telephone. Violating these guidelines, tapping a phone or keeping it under surveillance becomes an unpardonable offence. For all this, the Gujarat Chief Minister is responsible. In his letter, the father of the woman has made it clear that he had approached the Chief Minister and all this had been done by him. Shadowing by police of a woman of Gujarat wherever she went, shopping mall, ice-cream parlour, gym, cinema hall and even to hospital to see her ailing mother is not an offence against a woman but against all women of Gujarat. Investigations into such an offence cannot be stopped just on the basis of getting a letter from the father of the woman that he does not want to do in this case.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has said it is a case of providing security and not snooping?
I think the BJP should understand the difference between stalking and security. Stalking is not the best way of providing security. The BJP has a very ridiculous argument that all this was for the safety of the woman. If she needed security, she should have been provided Personal Security Office (PSO) on the basis of a written order, instead of assigning the task of snooping to IG of Intelligence Bureau, SP of Anti-Terrorist Squad, DCP of Crime Branch and DSP of IB to constable just through oral orders which is a serious offence. If the woman was harassed by someone and she complains to the Chief Minister, it becomes the duty of the Chief Minister to have a complaint from the woman in writing and put the tormentor behind bars. How can it be justified to put the police machinery to snooping, instead of taking legal recourse?
Why is the Congress making such a big issue out of the issue of alleged snooping?
Issue at stake is the larger one. It is whether the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), IB, Crime Branch and the Gujarat police the personal property of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that he uses whenever he feels like and even for fake encounters and snooping around a woman? Point is, we are not bothered about the breach of privacy if the father today, and tomorrow, the girl also say she had no problem of being under 24-hour monitoring by Modi Government: the issue is the nature of surveillance and the use of agencies. The Anti-Terrorist Squad, the Intelligence Bureau and the Crime Branch and top officials were all deputed to monitor the girl from when she has coffee, to when she goes to gym and whom she is spending the night with. Is this providing security to a girl, as claimed by leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley? If they are really providing security, the agencies will be directly in touch with the girl concerned. Instead, the agencies were accessing passengers list from different airlines in the airports to track the girl’s movements. Besides, the moot question is where on earth security is provided to an ordinary girl by deploying ATS, IB and Crime Branch?
Charge against the Congress is that it is personalising the campaign against BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi?
The Congress does not believe in character-assassination or personal allegations against anyone. However, the way the BJP is shielding BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, who have indulged in gross criminal acts, has made it necessary for the Congress to come out before the media with facts and the legal position of the criminal act.
When the girl has not complained, why is the Congress politicising is the charge of the BJP?
The fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence is that in the case of crime, anyone can become a complainant and if it comes into the knowledge of the government, then the government must become the complainant and register the offence. The other principle of criminal jurisprudence is that even if the victim is not willing to lodge a complaint against the tormentor, action must be initiated against the accused. In this case of illegal phone-tapping and stalking of a 32-year-old woman at the instance of the Gujarat Chief Minister, the BJP is not able to find any defence and it has managed to have a baseless letter from the father of the woman that he does not want to lodge any complaint and there should not be any investigation in the case.
Why is not the Congress seeking the legal recourse?
The Congress is a political party. It will take the issue to the people’s court. We will explain the issues at stake to the people at large. Some individuals or NGOs can go to court. We, as a political party, will only go to the people’s court, which is the ultimate court of justice.
How do you say that what has happened is a crime?
The Criminal Procedure Code clearly lists the types of cases, which are compoundable and those, which are non-compoundable. Telephone-tapping, stalking by police without any written permission, misuse of government machinery and a conspiracy to illegally confine someone into jail for long time can never be compounded. Hence, by saying that the affected person does not want to lodge a complaint or have investigation does not make the offence of the Gujarat Chief Minister compoundable.
There is a charge that the Congress has harmed the woman by disclosing her identity?
Responsible media and the Opposition had taken care that the name of the woman was not exposed, but the criminals involved in the case have disclosed the identity of the woman and disclosed that the man mentioned as “Saheb” in the audio-tapes was none other than the Chief Minister, by getting a letter from the father of the affected woman.
Is there any precedence of Modi resorting to such phone-tapping?
In the past, telephones of former Gujarat Home Minister Harend Pandya and present Gujarat leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela, besides innumberable others, were tapped in the past.
In December, 2012, Gujarat DGP Amitabh Pathak said that over 93,000 phones in Gujarat were being recorded and he was not even aware of it! In the present situation when the Gujarat Government and the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, on insistence on his Saheb, has committed serious crime of phone-tapping of a woman and an IAS officer. Therefore an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to look into this issue and also unravel as to why was the woman put under a 24-hour surveillance and top IPS officers of top agencies in Gujarat were used was only appropriate.