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Punjab police tapping phones: Congress

Chandigarh: Congress today accused the Punjab police of illegally tapping phones in “utter violation” of Supreme Court order, two days after SAD leaders released conversation transcripts purportedly of certain Congress members in conversation with a leader of Sikh hardline group.

In an open letter to Punjab and Haryana High Court acting Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar, Punjab Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa asked him to take cognizance of the allegedly illegal tapping of phones being done in Punjab by the police authorities by treating the letter as a petition.

In the letter which was released to the media here, Bajwa alleged that the snooping was being conducted by the Punjab police under the aegis of Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

He alleged that government has been indulging in illegal surveillance activities to settle political scores in blatant violation of the Supreme Court’s directions.

Referring to ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ congregation at Amritsar on November 10, Bajwa claimed that the Akali Dal played a game of Machiavellian proportions to make its main political rival look like they were extending their support to the event.

“A Punjab government minister played what sounded like a telephonic conversation between two Congress leaders, accusing them of sending their supporters to the Sarbat Khalsa and advising them on political resolutions,” he said.

The law on the subject of phone tapping or surveillance clearly states that it can only be carried out in accordance with the strict procedures laid down under the Indian Telegraph Act, he said, adding, the Punjab government has not been able to prove any of this before snooping on the members of Congress party, he said.

“In the past, a sitting Supreme Court Judge and the then Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Tirath Singh Thakur had written to the then Chief Justice of India about snooping by the Punjab Police on Hon’ble Judges of the High Court,” he said.

He alleged that the then Director of Vigilance, Punjab, Sumedh Singh Saini had fabricated evidence against nine judges of the High Court in 2008 by tapping their telephones.

He said these incidents further bolster the widespread belief that the Punjab government uses its police force to spy on political opponents.