TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Congress lobs snoop questions at Modi

New Delhi, Nov. 22: The Congress today alleged that the snooping controversy in Gujarat was the outcome of a “close relations” triangle involving chief minister Narendra Modi, an IAS officer and the woman.

“The chief minister had close relations with the girl. He doubted even one IAS officer was close to her,” said Shaktisinh Gohil, a senior Gujarat Congress leader who was fielded by the party at a special media briefing.

“This created a dispute and snooping was ordered. There was fear (that) clippings or (a) video would get leaked and hence there was a compromise, finally, in which financial benefits were showered on the girl.”

Asked if he was hinting at a love triangle, Gohil replied: “No, no. I only said good relations, not illicit relations. We are not interested in character assassination of anybody; we have full sympathy for the girl.”

He added: “The BJP committed the sin of revealing her identity. We are saying (that) once the good relationship soured because of suspicion, there was a fight. After that, snooping and compromise happened as leaders were worried about their political career.”

Gohil was accompanied by state Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal and women’s wing chief Shobha Oza.

“We want to know how the state made expenses from (the) public exchequer for the breakfast (that) the chief minister had with his friend, or (how) her phone was recharged and car refuelled,” Gohil said.

“Let them deny this; I will reveal the answer given under the RTI which confirmed they ate dudh-pahwa which cost Rs 12,500.”

When reporters asked how dudh-pahwa (milk and rice flakes) could cost Rs 12,500, Gohil said: “I am not giving the documents because it contains the girl’s name. Let them deny it and I will release the papers.”

Gohil alleged Modi had showered financial benefits on the woman’s family through government contracts without issuing tenders.

“In the solar power project described as the biggest in the world, the pilot project was given to Ecolibrium Energy, a firm in which the girl’s brothers hold 96 per cent share,” Gohil alleged.

“The BJP disrupts Parliament when railway minister Pawan Bansal’s nephew is found talking to someone. Modi dreams to become PM and he should at least answer these questions to show some moral pretensions, though we know (that) Modi and morality travel in opposite directions.”

When contacted for a reaction, BJP spokesperson Vijay Rupani said: “No comment.”

The Gujarat government spokesperson, Nitin Patel, said he did not want to react to “false and baseless allegations levelled by the Congress."

Gohil, a former leader of the Congress legislature party in Gujarat, accused the state government of violating all procedures and laws to run the alleged snooping racket.

“I keep five phones and change the SIM cards every month. But they know what and with whom I am talking. If a businessman talks to me, he gets threats immediately,” he said.

“The contact in Kutch who gave me (the) information about the snooping case is already getting threats. The former DGP Pathak said in 2012 that 96,000 phones were being tapped without his permission.”

He was referring to Gujarat police chief Amitabh Pathak who died of a heart attack in August while on a vacation in Thailand.

Gohil contested senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s stand that the snooping controversy should end since the woman’s father had written to the National Commission for Women that his daughter had decided not to lodge a complaint.

“Jaitley should know better about criminal jurisprudence. These are non-compoundable offences and the government can take action suo motu (on its own),” Gohil said.

“The government must answer why the procedure to tap phones was not followed. The BJP cannot dismiss a snooping case as ‘protection’. The BJP says the girl faced threats from an IAS officer. The chief minister should have immediately ensured the registration of an FIR against him. All these issues require a probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge or the CBI.”

SC rejects petition

The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL against the Election Commission’s failure to reject Modi’s nomination for allegedly not disclosing the “truth” about his marital status in the affidavit filed at the time of his election in 2012.

Petitioner S. Suneil Sarawgi, from Calcutta, said in the plea that Modi was married to Jashodaben at a very early age but that he did not disclose this while contesting the Assembly election from Maninanagar in Gujarat. The column pertaining to spouse was left blank, the petition said.