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Shinde explains alleged phone tapping.

New Delhi: India's principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday rejected the government's explanation on the alleged telephone tapping case of some of its senior leaders.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde made a failed attempt to pacify agitated BJP lawmakers over reports of a private detective trying to access cell data record of leader of opposition Arun Jaitley and some of other senior leaders.

"This case is an unauthorised attempt to access call data record... it's not a case of telephone tapping," Shinde said in his statement made in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

"Is there anything for the government to hide? There is something fishy... On whose behest were the call details sought?" said senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu asked while his colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad added: "I am sure there are some state actors, some non-state actors. Some large-scale operation could not have taken place without any official backing."

"The Delhi Police informed us that they came to know that some person had sought call data records of Arun Jaitley. Police came to know about it after the nodal officer of Airtel asked the ACP operation of Delhi Police to reconfirm the request, through email. Since no such request was made, the confirmation was not given and the call data records were not disclosed," Shinde said.

Delhi Police has so far arrested three private detectives Neeraj Nayar, Nitish Singh and Anurag Singh and Arvind Kumar Dabas, a constable of Delhi Police and had admitted in the court recently that there were indications of a larger conspiracy to access call data records of at least 12 politicians.

Anurag Singh was earlier accused of tapping the phone of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in 2005.

Shinde's explanation, however, failed to satisfy BJP and other opposition lawmakers, prompting the home minister to say: "We are not tapping the phone of any member. If there has to be any tapping, the permission for it has to be taken from the union home secretary... The constable was doing it for a private agency. It is very important for us as well, we are also worried... Leader of opposition is no ordinary person."

Although Shinde did not talk about apprehensions being expressed in several quarters that someone from within the BJP could have asked the private detective agency for Jaitley's call data record, the Delhi Police is probing this possibility as well.

Besides Jaitley, calls of former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, newly appointed Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel and local party leader Sudhanshu Mittal were also being tracked.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Mar 2, 2013
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