Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday made a statement on the issue of an alleged attempt to tap the phone of senior BJP leader and the Leader of Opposition in the upper house Arun Jaitley holding that it was not a case of phone tapping but of unauthorised access to call records.
Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Shinde said: "When this issue was raised in the House on 27.2.2013, many Hon'ble Members referred to the tapping of telephone of the Hon'ble Leader of Opposition. Mr. Chairman, Sir, what has been detected in the investigation by the Delhi Police is not the monitoring of the telephone conversation which is ordinarily called "tapping" but the accessing of the Call Data Records."
"The interception of the telephone or telephone tapping refers to looking at the content of the conversation whereas the Call Data Records pertain to the data regarding the numbers which were called or received. In the case being investigated by the Delhi Police, there was an attempt at unauthorisedly trying to access the call data record i.e. details of numbers called and received and duration of the conversation. This was not a case of telephone tapping," the Home Minister said.
"On receiving information that the Delhi Police had arrested some persons for accessing the Call Data Records of Shri Jaitley, we asked the Delhi Police for details. The Delhi Police have informed us that they came to know that some person had sought Call Data Records of Shri Arun Jaitley, after the Nodal Officer of Airtel asked ACP (Operations), Delhi Police to re-confirm the request made through e-mail. Since, no such request had been made, the confirmation was not given and as such, the Call Data Records were not disclosed," he said.
Shinde said: "A case FIR No. 9 dated 14.2.2013 u/S 66 (C) of I.T. Act r/w 420 and 120-B IPC was registered at PS Special Cell, New Delhi on the complaint received from Inspector Arun Kumar regarding dishonestly and fraudulently accessing official e-mail ID of ACP/Operations and for seeking details of ownership of 5 cell numbers."
"During the course of investigation, the Internet Protocol (I.P.) addresses and logging details of the official e-mail ID of ACP/Operations were obtained and it was found that it was accessed from an Internet Protocol (I.P.) address belonging to one Constable Arvind Kumar Dabas (No. 892/ND), posted at Parliament Street Police Station," he said.
"It was further learnt that the Constable had been unauthorisedly absenting himself for the past one year. The Constable was earlier posted in Spl. Staff of New Delhi Distt. and, therefore, had access to the official e-mail ID of ACP/Operations," Shinde said.
Shinde said the interrogation of Constable Arvind Kumar Dabas has revealed that he was illegally accessing the official e-mail ID of ACP/Operations for the past 6-8 months.
"He did so for obtaining the call data records and subscriber details of various persons on demand from one Neeraj Nayar, a freelance detective at a price of Rs.1500/- per call detail record and Rs.200/- for providing subscriber details. He stated that Neeraj Nayar is the friend and has a private agency called "Detective Agency India" at Shalimar Garden, Ghaziabad," Shinde said.
He has provided call details of various people to him on 10-15 occasions in the past. Neeraj Nayar s/o Lt. Shri Gurbax Rai Nayar r/o H.No. G-4, Plot No. A-22, B.R. Apartments, Shalimar Garden, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, U.P. disclosed that he used to pass on the call data records to one Nitish r/o Uttam Nagar, Delhi, whom he had met during his business visits to Nitish's office at Connaught Place where Nitish works in a detective agency in the name and style of "V Detect", belonging to one Dr. Anurag Singh," he said.
Shinde said Neeraj Nayar was arrested in connection to the this case on Feb 16.
"Based on the disclosures made by the two accused, namely, Constable Arvind Dabas and Neeraj Nayar; Nitish Singh and Dr. Anurag Singh have been arrested and are being interrogated," he said.
"Dr. Anurag Singh's detective agency ´V-Detect´ operates out of 214, Competent House, F-14, Middle Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi, in which Nitish Singh works as an employee for the past 5-6 years. They provide various detective services, such as, pre and post matrimonial enquiries, provision of secured laptops/ mobile phones and stock related consultancy works," Shinde said.
He said Nitish Singh does various marketing and sales works in the same office.
"They used to seek the subscriber details and call data records of mobile numbers through Neeraj Nayar," Shinde said.
Four persons involved in obtaining the CDRs illegally have been arrested and interrogated, Shinde said.
"The Court of Law has remanded them to judicial custody. Further investigation is underway," the Home Minister said.
Earlier last week, the opposition had demanded an apology from the government, to which it had assured the former that it will collate the information on the alleged tapping and present it before the Upper House.
In fact, the political row over the alleged phone-tapping issue had compelled the House to adjourn for the day then.
While junior Home Minister RPN Singh said he would not make any comment on the issue before the statement, another Congress leader, Harish Rawat, hinted that the tapping could be owing to BJP´s internal power struggle and squabbling.
Jaitley himself said he has no clue to who was doing it and hoped that the Delhi Police should honestly go into the matter and take right action.
JD(U)´ leader Shivanand Tiwari said the government has restrained phone-tapping, but since the machines are already available in the market, it is hard to control such actions.
Earlier, the Delhi Police had arrested constable Arvind Dabas and three private detectives, who according to the police had been allegedly trying to access the call details of Jaitley´s phone.
Dabas has been charged with the allegations of using a senior´s computer to get access to the politician´s phone records by sending an e-mail to the mobile service recorder, said reports.
The police has reportedly suspected a "larger conspiracy", as according to them the accused have tried to tap the cellphones of at least 12 politicians.
In 2005, Anurag Singh, one of the private detectives arrested in Delhi last week, was also accused of tapping the phone of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh.