Chief Minister Siddaramaiah turns tables on BJP, says Centre tapping phones

Bengaluru : Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday accused the BJP-led Centre of tapping phones of Congress leaders in the state.

“It is not the state government, but the Centre that is tapping phones,” Siddaramaiah told reporters, reacting to BJP leader R Ashoka’s allegation that the Congress government had tapped the phones of BJP and JD(S) leaders.

“Tapping phones of opposition party leaders is something our government has never done and will never do. But the Centre has been tapping our phones, which the state BJP is not aware of. We haven’t played it up, because it’s a small thing,” he said.

Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, too, claimed that the Centre had resorted to espionage. “It’s true that the phones of 30-35 Congress leaders are being tapped. It’s been happening for many days,” Reddy said. He, however, refused to name leaders whose phones were under surveillance.

This is not the first time the state Congress is alleging that phones were being tapped. Late last month, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) vice-president Prof B K Chandrashekhar accused that the Centre was using a mobile company to tap phones.

Ashoka dared Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy to institute an inquiry. “The ruling Congress had tapped 162 mobile numbers belonging to BJP and JD(S) leaders. I was a home minister. I have reliable information,” Ashoka said.

“Phones belonging to terrorists or rowdies can be tapped, but there’s no provision to tap phones of politicians. Let there be a departmental inquiry or a CBI probe into this,” he added.