Snooping: Gujarat IAS speaks out
A senior bureaucrat from Gujarat said he was persecuted by the state government led by Narendra Modi back in 2010 because he knew the relationship between a state politician and a woman who is in the middle of a snooping controversy linking Modi's top aide Amit Shah.
Speaking to NDTV, Pradeep Sharma, who was arrested and suspended on corruption charges earlier in 2010, said he has appealed to the Supreme Court to make the Gujarat government explain why he was placed under surveillance too.
He told the channel that he was persecuted for knowing the relationship between the woman and the politician. "Surveillance proves I was persecuted," he said.
Sharma got bail in 2011.
Sharma also claimed that he had introduced the father of the woman concerned to Modi after BJP said the father of the girl herself had requested for surveillance.
The BJP however alleged that Pradeep Sharma himself was the man from whom the woman was shielded and hence she was put under surveillance.
The party said the woman's family knew Modi and they were worried about her security and hence had requested him for her security.
Earlier, the ruling Congress party and BJP engaged in a verbal tussle over the snooping allegations against Amit Shah.
Alleging that former state home minister Amit Shah verbally ordered the state police to monitor the movements and phone conversations of a young woman architect in 2009, the Congress wanted a Supreme Court judge to investigate the case.
The allegations were made at a press conference along with release of over half-an-hour of tapped telephonic conversations,suspected to be one between Shah and Gujarat IPS officer G.L. Singhal.
Two investigative portals Cobrapost and Gulail broke the story and claimed to have submitted the tapes to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Ishrat Jahan murder case.
"Audio tapes reveal the illegal surveillance of a young woman from Bangalore in 2009 ordered by Amit Shah for his 'Saheb'. The police followed her inside malls, restaurants, gyms, even when she visited relatives, went to see her mother at a hospital, took a flight or checked into a hotel," Cobrapost reported.
However, the BJP is defending the allegations against Shah.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Has the lady in question complained? Has the family members complained?"
He asked who are they (Congress) to shout. "It is motivated and dirty tricks of Congress party," Prasad said.
BJP also produced a letter from the girl's father where he purportedly said that he was concerned about her security and had hence asked Modi for help.
Modi on Monday at a rally said, "The women of this country offer me such a protective shield (suraksha kawach) that no threat or conspiracy will work against me."
Congress Uttar Pradesh unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi was caustic on Monday when she said: "Gujarat is not a democratic state of India. It is a fascist arrangement and the dictator is one and that is the CM."
"He says women are my shield. If women are shielding you and giving you their trust, you are betraying their trust," she said in response to Modi's comment as the Congress party alleges that the 'Saheb' in question is Modi.
Alleging that the Indian Telegraph Act was violated, Bahuguna said Amit Shah should come clean on the issue first and indicated that Modi was referred as Sahib in the taped conversation.
In a sarcastic remark and countering Modi's reference of Rahul Gandhi often as Shahzada, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the scandal exposes "the stalking shahzada" of the BJP.
(Posted on 19-11-2013)