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Modi maligns, officers pay

Ahmedabad, Sept. 18: The Gujarat government has transferred three senior intelligence officials for the alleged “leak” of audiotapes of Narendra Modi’s speech during his Gaurav Yatra and sensitive internal communication between the home and intelligence departments.

Additional director-general of police (intelligence) R.B. Srikumar, deputy inspector general E. Radhakrishna and superintendent Sanjiv Bhatt, who were transferred yesterday, had submitted to the home department a verbatim report of the chief minister’s speech at Becharaji in Mehsana district.

The report, which along with copies of the tapes was leaked to the media, was accompanied by a warning that Modi’s words could inflame communal passions.

While referring to national population programmes, Modi, in his September 9 speech, had taken a swipe at the minority community, saying its policy was: “Hum paanch, hamare pachchis (We five, our 25). We need to teach them a lesson.”

The chief minister had also said: “We brought Narmada waters to Gujarat in the month of Shravan, but the Congress would have got it in Ramzan.”

The report and the tapes that were aired on a TV channel on Sunday had come as an acute embarrassment to the BJP. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was in the US, even sent a senior leader to rein in Modi. But he did not forget to greet Modi on his 53rd birthday today.

The state government suspects that the report and the tapes were leaked by the three IPS officers. The chief minister, sources said, was also upset with Srikumar’s report to the additional chief secretary (home), warning of the dangerous fallout of his speech.

After this internal communication was leaked, it was decided to transfer the three officers. “This is a very serious matter and I’m going to brief the chief minister about it,” home minister Gordhan Zadaphia had said.

Srikumar has been shifted as additional DGP (reform and modernisation). Radhakrishna and Bhatt have been transferred to the police training college in Junagadh.

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