Karnataka government orders CBI probe into phone tapping case

The order was issued on Tuesday on the recommendation by Director General (DG) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the state.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has issued an order entrusting inquiry and investigation of alleged illegal telephone interception during the previous Congress-JD(S) coalition government to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The order was issued on Tuesday on the recommendation by Director General (DG) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the state. The investigation is ordered for the duration from August 1, 2018, till date of the order.

"It has come to the notice of the government that there are apprehensions that phones of several ruling and Opposition political leaders, their relatives and other government officials have been intercepted in an illegal or unauthorised or unwanted manner," said SS Srinivasa, Governor of Karnataka in a letter on Tuesday.

"In view of the registration of crime, Cyber Crime Police Station, Bengaluru city, under section 72 of the Indian Technology Act, 2000 and Section 26 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the government intends to enquire and investigate into such lapses," he added.

According to the order, because of this illegal activity of phone tapping in the state, it is apprehended that crucial and personal information of many senior political leaders and government servants might have been leaked, which is likely to infringe upon their right to privacy.

The sanction has been accorded to the CBI under Sections (5) and (6) of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 for further investigation and inquiry into all illegal, unauthorised and unwanted interceptions of telephones of political leaders belonging to the ruling party and Opposition as well as their associates, relatives and also of the government servants from August 1, 2018 till date of this order.

The development comes a day after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that the phone tapping case filed during the previous (HD Kumaraswamy) government will be handed over to the CBI as many leaders including Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah have demanded a probe into the matter.

The allegations of illegal phone tapping against HD Kumaraswamy initially stormed in after rebel JD(S) and Congress MLAs, who were later disqualified from their respective parties, claimed that the former chief minister got their phones tapped.

Reportedly, former state president of JD(S), AH Vishwanath, who was also among the dissenters, alleged that around 300 personal phones of leaders, including senior Congress leader Siddaramiah, were tapped by Kumaraswamy.

However, Kumaraswamy has denied all the allegations and said that he was ready to face any investigation into the alleged phone tapping case.

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