By Venus Kumar for ZeroHour News
Amidst growing concerns of electronic eavesdropping, a Parliamentary Panel has recommended fresh guidelines for tapping of phones that belong to Members of Parliament. The standing committee on home affairs opined that consent must be obtained by the agencies from the presiding officer of the respective house of Parliament before tapping their phones.
“The Committee is of the view that there should be a mandatory provision that before getting CDR or tapping telephone of a sitting MP, permission of the Presiding Officer of the concerned House should be solicited….Similarly in the case of other political leaders, the chief of party may be informed before taking any such action,” the reported outlined.
In the recent past, several prominent politicians and members of the civil society have alleged eavesdropping by the Central security agencies as well as independent miscreants, taking advantages of the loopholes in existing provisions. Senior BJP leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley’s call data records were illegally secured by some rogue elements with the Delhi Police failing to nab the final culprits.
The report that was tabled in the parliament, quoted the Delhi Police as saying, “There were some suspects who we thought could be behind him. We interrogated them also, but neither could we have any technical link between Anurag Singh and those people nor did anything emerge in the interrogation to link them with the crime.”
Chief of the Intelligence Bureau Syed Asif Ibrahim, the country’s top snooping agency, deposed before the panel and gave an undertaking that currently none of the politicians were under its radar. Ibrahim also highlighted the current procedures of undertaking electronic eavesdropping and said that in each of the cases a go-ahead was being sought from the Home Secretary.
The procedures, explained Ibrahim, were consistent with the current provisions of the Telegraph Act and various guidelines of the Supreme Court.
The Home Secretary RK Singh in his submission before the Committee said, “We wrote to all the state governments because we had heard that some state special branches and some other people had imported some of that monitoring systems. I said ‘you deposit all of them at a particular place’. Some have been deposited, many have not been deposited. Some agencies have confessed having it…So, we are on the alert,”
Several politicians, cutting across the political spectrum have been worried about the possibilities of phone tapping by the Central government or its agencies with any ulterior motive. The recommendations of the Committee are expected to assuage some of those nerves.
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