Jaitley phone tapping issue: Khurshid backs Shinde after BJP's criticism

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 11:47 hrs

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday voiced his support for Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dismissed the latter's explanation on the Arun Jaitley phone tapping issue.

Khurshid said Shinde had made a clear statement and added that there is nothing further to add to it.

"The Home Minister has already given a reply. There is a proper procedure, proper system and the Home Secretary has to specifically in individual cases actually approve for a very limited period tapping of phones and that has to be justified on the orders of the Home Secretary," Khurshid told media outside the Parliament here.

"The Home Minister made a very clear statement and I think the house is satisfied with that statement. So, no further thing to add," he added.

BJP leader Balbir Punj, however, termed as extremely disappointing the statement made by Shinde in this regard.

"His statement in the Rajya Sabha was extremely disappointing. He did not give a befitting answer to the basic questions," he said.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the pace of the investigations, BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu told the Rajya Sabha that the government has all the wherewithal to find out who was behind it.

"Arrest was made on 14 February and today is 1 March. This kind of thing is not possible without the support of the government. Why is the investigation taking so long, does the government have something to hide?" said Naidu.

"How do you know the phone was not tapped? Do you have an investigation? If the records were accessed, why couldn't they also hack the phone records? Some forces are clearly at work - this is very serious. What are the steps taken to prevent such abuse?" he asked.

Shinde earlier clarified that Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley's phone was not tapped, but that someone was trying to access his call records.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on the alleged tracking of phone records of Jaitley, Shinde said: "We have ascertained the facts. When this issue was raised in the House, many honourable members referred to tapping of phones of the honourable Leader of the Opposition. In the case being investigated by Delhi Police, there was an attempt of unauthorised access of call data records; it is not a case of phone-tapping."

BJP had earlier termed the attempt to secure the Call Data Records (CDR) of Jaitley's mobile phone as a serious matter and demanded an answer from Shinde as to who ordered this unauthorised surveillance.

"This is a government of spies like James Bond and when any government functions in a mafia style then the people of this country does not forgive it. This is a serious crime," said BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Private detective Anurag Singh, the alleged main conspirator arrested in connection with the attempt to access call details of Jaitley, was on Tuesday remanded in judicial custody by a Delhi court.

The other three accused-constable Arvind Dabas, Neeraj and Nitish-are already in judicial custody.

Anurag has earlier been accused of tapping the phone of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in 2005. (ANI)

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