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Naveen denies tapping telephones of political leaders

Posted on Dec 08, 01:17PM | UNI

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has denied the Opposition allegation of tapping the telephones of political leaders in the state.

Replying to a debate in the Assembly on supplementary budgetary grants for the Home department yesterday, Mr Patnaik clarified that his government has not intercepted the telephones or mobile phones of any political leaders including the Ministers, MLAs and MPs.

He said even the telephones of the IAS and IPS officers were not tapped as alleged by the Opposition, adding that telephones of only those involved in any criminal or naxal activity were tapped.

On the demand for a judicial probe into the telephone tapping by the Congress members, Mr Patnaik said, his government has only ordered for legal interception of telephones for 4620 numbers in the last four years whereas the Central government has ordered for interception for 7500 to 9000 numbers per month on an average which comes to about one lakh per year.

The Chief Minister claimed that the agencies had achieved success in the state in preventing the crime and anti-national activities, arresting hardcore Maoists by intercepting telephone calls.

On the naxal front, Mr Patnaik said there had been remarkable improvement in the situation during 2012. The pro-active security response has resulted in the death of 10 Maoists, arrest of 137 and surrender of 31 cadres, he said.

The district volunteer force, he said, had been increased from 500 to 1000 to strengthen the specialised forces to combat the naxalite menace in the state.

He said the government had hired one MI-17 helicopter for anti-naxal operations and outlined various steps taken by his government in strenghtening the police stations in the naxal-hit areas.

Mr Patnaik said the economic offences wing and a special task force had been created under the CID to deal with economic offences and organised crimes in the state respectively and steps have been taken to create new police units like the Odisha Auxiliary Police Force and the Odisha Industrial Security Force.

However, the Opposition Congress staged a walkout in the House, expressing their displeasure over the statement of the Chief Minister and the government's failure to handle the law and order situation and the rising Maoist activities.