Mumbai, Jan 24 (IANS) A day after the Maharashtra government ordered a probe into allegations of phone -tapping by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, former Chief Minister and current Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis rubbished the charges, here on Friday.
“It is not in our culture to tap the phones of political opponents in the state. This is absolutely baseless. The (then) government had never issued any such orders,” Fadnavis said in a statement.
He alleged that the political credentials of the person who has lodged the complaint (senior Congressman Digvijaya Singh) is known to the whole country.
“Despite this, if the state government wants, it is free to investigate in any manner it deems fit. The truth must come out before the people. If required go to Israel and probe,” Fadnavis said.
Pointing out that during his government, the Minister of State for Home was from the Shiv Sena, he urged that the probe must be completed at the earliest and its report must be placed before the people.
His statement came a day after Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the state government had ordered a probe into complaints of tapping of many phones as had been ordered by the erstwhile BJP-led regime, who misused the official machinery.
“We have received many such complaints. The phones of senior leaders like Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, (now) CM Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, to track with whom they were communicating, especially during the formation of the (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government, Deshmukh said.
The Maharashtra Police’s Cyber Cell has been ordered to look into various complaints of this telephonic surveillance.
Referring to senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s revelations that a Maharashtra government official had gone to Israel for this purpose, Deshmukh said the probe will find out who was sent (to Israel) and whether it was official.
“Is the @OfficeofUT going to give details in public that who was behind snooping and tapping in Maharashtra. Who were the officers of Maharashtra Govt who went to Israel to talk to NSO the brain behind malware Pegasus,” Singh had tweeted.
The issue has evoked sharp reactions from the three ruling MVA partners, Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress with several leaders and ministers, including Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik, Jitendra Awhad, Sachin Sawant, and others slamming the former BJP government for the alleged wire-tapping.