Indian PM contender embroiled in snooping scandal

Women's rights groups are campaigning to start an investigation into a scandal in which the chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi was accused of snooping on a girl.

Indian PM contender embroiled in snooping scandal

World Bulletin / News Desk

A delegation from thirty women rights groups and representatives of four political parties – including the ruling Congress – met on Monday with President Pranab Mukherjee and demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged snooping on a girl by Gujarat state police at the behest of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

"Forty-five of us from thirty social organisations and representatives of four political parties met the president and submitted a memorandum saying that the kind of surveillance that was done in Gujarat using full state machinery is a misuse of the entire state apparatus and a judicial inquiry should be held in the matter," Shabnam Hashmi from the Act Now for Harmony And Democracy (Anhad) group told Anadolu Agency.

"Usually the president’s office receives petitions. It was a positive sign that the president himself came and met the delegates," she stressed.

She accused Modi, who is also the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party’s prime ministerial candidate, of "blatant violation of Constitutional oath and negation of Right to Privacy."

Hashmi also accused Modi's close aide Amit Shah of committing offences under the Indian Telegraph Act and Indian Penal Code under directions from the chief minister in running an illegal snooping racket against a young woman, her friends and acquaintances.

The scandal relates to snooping on a young woman by Gujarat police at Modi’s behest.

Modi allegedly had a close relationship with the woman.

Last week, two news portals made public tapes in which BJP general secretary Amit Shah is heard directing police to put a young woman and a senior officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Pradeep Sharma, under surveillance in 2009 when he was Gujarat’s minister of state for home at the behest of one "sahib," said to be none other than Modi.

COURT

Sharma on Saturday went to the Supreme Court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the snooping charges against Shah and Modi based on the transcripts of the telephonic conversations.

Sharma has alleged that the state government ordered surveillance on the woman architect because Modi feared that she was passing on information to him.

He also claimed that he was suspended and framed in half a dozen cases between 2010 and 2012 because of Modi's suspicion that he knew about the contents of a VCD allegedly showing the woman in a compromising position.

Sharma had introduced the architect to Modi years back.

The BJP has accused Sharma of acting at the behest of the ruling Congress.

"They are back to their old game of detecting a disgruntled police officer or a civil servant and getting him to make absurd charges," said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior BJP leader and deputy leader of opposition in the upper house of the parliament, said the Congress has no business asking for a probe in the snooping case.

"Has the woman complained about the matter?" he asked. "With what authority is the Congress and the Union government asking for a probe?"

The BJP parliamentary board has decided to name Modi its general, meaning that he automatically becomes its candidate for the premiership should the party win the 2014 polls.

A three-time state chief minister, Modi has been seen as a divisive figure since the 2002 Gujarat violence triggered by the killing of 59 Hindu devotees in an attack on an express train.

Subsequent communal violence claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, and damaged hundreds of places of worship, mostly mosques.

Modi, as chief minister, is accused by federal authorities of failing to protect Muslims and their interests, while Muslims accuse him of inciting violence against them.

He has been accused of complicity in the riots by a number of human rights groups and the case against him remains in court.

Last Mod: 26 Kasım 2013, 09:28
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