Government ‘categorically’ denies authorising phone tapping


New Delhi : The government Monday “categorically” denied it had authorised the tapping of phones of key political leaders.

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Amid a furore over the issue in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the government had investigated the matter but found “nothing to substantiate” the allegations reported in a weekly magazine last week.

“I wish to state categorically that no telephone tapping or eavesdropping of political leaders was authorised by the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. Nor has the present UPA government authorised any such activity. After the issue of the magazine was available late Friday, the allegations in the story were thoroughly inquired into. Nothing has been found in the records to substantiate the allegations,” Chidambaram said in the house.

Newsmagazine Outlook in a report had said that the government was tapping the telephones of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Prakash Karat and Congress leader Digvijay Singh.

However, the home minister’s statement did not satisfy the protesting MPs led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Chidambaram’s statement came after opposition MPs demanded a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the issue.

Amid an uproar that made the home minister barely audible, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house till 2 p.m. This was the second disruption of the house Monday.

Earlier the opposition MPs stalled the Lok Sabha over the matter soon after the house reassembled after the weekend.

Manmohan Singh is likely to speak over the issue in the house at 3.30 p.m.