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Snooping: EC distances itself from panel appointment

Posted on May 03 2014 | IBNS

New Delhi, May 3 : The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday said it will not intervene into the Centre's decision to appoint a judge to head an inquiry commission, by May 16, to probe into Gujarat 'snoopgate'.

The poll body said since the government did not seek its permission to form the panel, there is no question of it allowing or blocking the appointment.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on Friday said it will appoint a judge to head an enquiry commission, set up to probe alleged snooping charges against Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government, by May 16.

"The judge heading the commission will be appointed before May 16," said Union Minister Kapil Sibal.

"The Gujarat government set up a commission choosing their own judge. Why is Modi afraid of a probe?" he asked.

On Dec 26, 2013, the Union Cabinet approved setting up of the enquiry commission.

Investigative news portal Gulail had released 39 new audio tapes on the alleged snooping row involving Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's key aide and then state home minister Amit Shah.

"These 39 tapes contain phone conversations between two IPS officers, GL Singhal, who is now a prime accused in the staged-managed killings of Ishrat Jahan, and AK Sharma, then IG of the State Intelligence Bureau," said Gulail.

The portal claimed that the snooping was not confined to Gujarat.

"Gujarat intelligence and anti-terrorist squad officers stalked and snooped on Madhuri beyond the boundaries of the state. Her would-be husband, parents, brothers and friends were under surveillance too. And this had nothing to do with her personal safety or national security. A Saheb in Gujarat was interested in knowing the details of her love life," said Gulail.

"It's no longer an internal matter of Gujarat. Some 39 new tapes reveal how a 'Saheb' of Gujarat used state machinery and violated all phone taping related laws to stalk an unsuspecting woman in cities across the country," it said.

The portal claimed it is in exclusive possession of these new tapes that are not even with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"A new set of audio tapes unravels the brazen lies told by the BJP to defend its leaders and government in Gujarat. These tapes are in exclusive possession of Gulail and are not part of the 267 tapes that were seized from GL Singhal by the CBI in June," said the news portal.

"On November 15, Gulail and CobraPost had exposed how the young woman was being stalked by the Gujarat Police. To protect the identity of this unsuspecting victim of round-the-clock illegal surveillance by top cops of Gujarat's anti-terrorist squad (ATS), who were being directed by then state home minister Amit Shah, we called her 'Madhuri'."

"Now, Gulail is revealing that Madhuri, a Bangalore-based architect, was surveilled by the Gujarat police beyond the boundaries of the state.

"Gulail has obtained 39 new audio tapes of telephone conversations which reveal that the Gujarat Home Department had contacted the Karnataka government in 2009 and sought authorization to intercept the cellphone of Madhuri in whose private life - her movements and relationships - a Saheb was taking great personal interest.

"Both Mahduri's family and BJP leadership have admitted that the Saheb in question was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi," said Gulail.

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