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CIMA Gallary

Phone-tap axe on top cop

Shimla, Feb. 19: Himachal Pradesh’s police chief I.D. Bhandari has lost his job overnight after speaking on the phone tapping scandal and claiming no rules were violated.

His transfer orders were prepared on Monday midnight, sources said, and B. Kamal Kumar brought in today as the new director-general of police.

Like Bhandari, who has been posted as director-general, home guards, Kumar is a 1982 batch IPS officer.

Bhandari, then an additional director-general, headed the CID when 789 telephones were tapped by the department under Prem Kumar Dhumal’s BJP government.

Denying any violation of the Indian Telegraph Act, Bhandari said the telephones were not tapped by one individual and that a network of officials was responsible. He iterated that not even one phone was tapped by violating rules.

Sources said chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who has mounted an attack on predecessor Dhumal for the phone tapping, was unhappy with Bhandari’s statement.

Virbhadra, who received a report on the phone tapping on Friday, has already said stern action will be taken against any officers found guilty. An FIR will be lodged against guilty officers as and when the probe is over, he has said.

The chief minister said his telephone numbers top the list of the 789 phones that were tapped by the previous regime. He has also alleged that not only in Shimla, his phone conversations and activities were also monitored when he was in Chandigarh.

“My room was bugged and a device was found under the table in Chandigarh’s Himachal Bhavan. The matter will also be probed separately,” Virbhadra said yesterday.