New Delhi: The Congress and BJP are caught in another war over alleged attempts to access BJP leader Arun Jaitley's phone records. While the Congress has blamed it on BJP infighting, the BJP has said it couldn't have happened without the government's co-operation. However, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has said that though Jaitley's call records were sought, they were not provided.
Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the issue, Shinde said it was not a phone tapping case, but a case of unauthorised access to call records. "Delhi Police has detected the assessing of phone call details. In this case there was an attempt of unathorised access to call details, this was not a case of phone tapping. The CDR details were not disclosed as no permission was given for the same," Shinde said.
Briefing the House on the probe and action in the case, Shinde said, "The call detail records were accessed for one Neeraj Nair for a cost. Neeraj Nair is a private detective. Neeraj Nair was arrested on February 16. Constable Arvind Kumar Prabhas was found to be involved in finding Arun Jaitley's call details. Based on statements of Constable Arvind, Neeraj and Anurag have been arrested."
The BJP reacted to Shinde's statement calling it a mere SHO report. BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu pointed fingers at the government saying accessing call records could not have been possible without the government's co-operation. "The issue is on whose behest these call details were sought and for what purpose. The suspicion goes to government as without the co-operation of the government, this cannot happen," Naidu said.
The BJP has also refuted Congress's claims that the case was a result of BJP infighting. "These accusations are rubbish. They have manufactured them. These accusations are an internal matter of the BJP, not related to us," Congress leader Harish Rawat had said.
Refuting this claim, BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal said, "There are a lot of speculations that it's a factional war of the BJP. If you see the list of people I can only say it's a myth."
The BJP attacked the government with party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad saying, "A police constable is on unauthorised leave, what was being done? The constable was using the ACP's account for past six months and the government of India does not know till it is reported in media or raised by a member."
Meanwhile CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said in the Rajya Sabha that his phone was also being tapped. CPI leader D Raja questioned the government saying, "This is a serious matter. This is a democratic society and we have a right to privacy. What is the government doing to prevent such incidents?"
JD(U) spokesperson and MP Shivanand Tiwari said there were reports that his phone as well as those of his party colleague NK Singh and SP leader Ramgopal Yadav have been tapped. "Who is tapping these phones and who is getting them tapped. More worrisome is that the machine used for tapping these phones have been brought to the country in big numbers and it is very easy to tap the phones," he said.
Tiwari demanded that a probe be ordered to find out the people behind tapping of phones. "It seems there is no government and everybody is doing as he wants," he said.
(With additional information from PTI)