Snooping: Gujarat government forms probe panel

Ahmedabad, Nov 26 : The Gujarat government has formed a two-member inquiry panel to probe into snooping allegations against Chief Minister Narendra Modi's key aide and then state home minister Amit Shah.

The probe panel consists of retired Gujarat High Court judge Sugnyaben K Bhatt and retired former Additional Chief Secretary KC Kapoor.

The panel has been asked to submit its report within three months.

Meanwhile, suspended Gujarat IAS officer Pradeep Sharma has claimed that the letter written by the father of the woman, who was under surveillance by Modi's government, was false and done to save the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate.

"He (the father) had no other option," Sharma told NDTV channel.

He informed the channel that he introduced the girl to Modi in January 2004, when he came to inaugurate a park in Bhuj.

Sharma, as the Collector of Kutch had commissioned her to design the park. He said the family had no prior connection with Modi.

He said the woman and Modi interacted over mobile phones and emails, which she shared with him.

Sharma told the channel that at some point Modi feared that the woman had shared a sensitive video clip with him, and hence placed him under surveillance, as well as slapping him with false charges.

Earlier in the day, Sharma moved the Supreme Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the tapes showing Modi's government ordering surveillance on a woman.

"Sharma alleged that the surveillance was carried out at the behest of Chief Minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi because he feared that the woman knew him. The father of the girl has meanwhile asked for a stop to probes," reported CNN-IBN.

The BJP-Congress war of words over the Gujarat snooping and surveillance controversy continued even as the father of the woman who was under surveillance of the state government in 2009 had written to the National Commission for Women (NCW) requesting that the matter should rest here and not be politicized.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said after the very self-explanatory letter to the NCW by the father, Congress should stop.

The Congress retaliated saying the state should have acted even if the father of the girl had not wanted it.

The NCW on Nov 20 said it will send a notice to Modi-led Gujarat government in connection to the snooping row.

There was a new twist in the case of surveillance on the young woman in 2009 by the Gujarat government after the father of the girl said the move was at their request and his daughter was aware that her movements were being monitored for her safety.

The father of the girl in a letter to the NCW said there is no need to probe the matter further.

His letter came out on a day a senior bureaucrat in Gujarat alleged that the Modi government persecuted him because he knew about the "snooping".

The girl's father also said that he knew Modi over two decades as against the claim of bureaucrat Pradeep Sharma that he introduced him to Modi.

--IBNS (Posted on 26-11-2013)

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