Maha Govt Probing Alleged ‘Phone Tapping’ During Fadnavis Regime
Sanjay Raut and Maharashtra Home Minister have alleged phone tapping of opposition leaders under Fadnavis
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday, 24 January, said the state government is investigating whether the then Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government had tapped phones of Congress and NCP leaders ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Deshmukh’s comment came after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed that the home ministry, under Fadnavis, 'was habituated to do phone tapping'.
“Phone tapping is done in politics these days. I don’t take it very seriously. The home ministry is habituated to do phone tapping and keeping an eye on their opponents,” he told news agency ANI.
"A BJP leader had told me that my phone was being tapped. I said if anybody wants to listen to what I am saying I welcome it. I am Balasaheb's chela (disciple), whatever I do, I do it openly," Raut told news agency PTI.
"In spite of the phone-tapping, we formed the government in Maharashtra," he added.
On Thursday, Deshmukh had alleged that the Fadnavis dispensation misused government machinery to tap the phones of opposition leaders, especially during the formation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
“The cyber cell of Maharashtra police has been asked to look into the various complaints of snooping and phone tapping that came in during the previous government,” Deshmukh had said on Thursday.
On Friday, Deshmukh alleged the former government of use of "Israeli software bought on government money".
"When there was BJP government here, before Lok Sabha and Assembly polls they had tapped phones of leaders of Congress-NCP. There are allegations that they had even bought Israel's software on govt money and used it to tap phones. We are investigating," said Deshmukh.
He further alleged that phones of senior leaders like Uddhav Thackeray, Raut and Sharad Pawar were tapped.
‘Free to Do Any Probe’: Fadnavis
Former chief minister Fadnavis refuted the allegations saying even Sena leaders were part of the then home ministry.
"Phone tapping of Opposition leaders is not a tradition of Maharashtra. Our government never gave such an order. Present state government is free to order any probe under any agency. Even Shiv Sena leaders were a part of the home ministry then," he told ANI.
Pawar’s Security Withdrawn
Meanwhile, Sena’s ally in Maharashtra NCP on Friday accused the central government of withdrawing its chief Pawar's security at his official residence in New Delhi and charged it with playing "vendetta politics", reported PTI.
Maharashtra minister and NCP's chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said party leaders cannot be scared off with such a move.
The party's fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will continue, he asserted.
Malik said Pawar, a Rajya Sabha MP and former Union minister, had ‘Y’ category security cover in the national capital.
The security personnel deployed at Pawar's residence at 6 Janpath in the national capital stopped reporting at the bungalow since January 20 and there was no prior intimation from the government about it, he added.
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