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Since 1st March, 1999
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Strange link in phone tap
- Man with Reliance connection held
Mulayam Singh Yadav in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Jan. 3: Mulayam Singh Yadav raised the tone of his attack on the Centre for allegedly tapping his and his aide Amar Singh’s phones, but in a strange twist police arrested a second person in the case who has a Reliance Infocomm connection.

Reliance Infocomm is owned by Anil Ambani, a close friend of Amar and Mulayam Singh.

“He is an employee of Reliance Infocomm,” said Karnail Singh, the joint commissioner (special branch) of Delhi police, referring to the arrested man, Kuldeep Singh.

Sources in Reliance Infocomm, however, described Kuldeep as a franchise-holder who sells its services.

“We are cooperating with the investigating agencies. We would not comment any further,” a company spokesperson said in Mumbai. Last week, the police had arrested Bhupendra, the owner of a private detective agency in Delhi.

Bringing his battle to the capital, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party head Mulayam Singh alleged a “cover-up” in the Centre’s investigations to “protect” Sonia Gandhi.

He demanded the Centre constitute a committee of non-Congress chief ministers to investigate the “tapping” and named Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Nitish Kumar and Jayalalithaa as his nominees.

“The Centre cannot object to any of these names. Between them, they represent the north, south and east of India. I left out the west because then I would have had to pick a BJP chief minister (Narendra Modi) and he would have been rejected as communal,” Mulayam Singh said.

He, however, added that he had not yet spoken to the chief ministers.

Mulayam Singh contested the Union home ministry’s statement that the two letters he had released earlier were forged. The letters ' one attributed to the principal secretary (home) of the Delhi government, R. Narayanaswami, on November 9, 2005, and the other to Ranjit Narayan, joint commissioner (crime), Delhi police, on November 22, 2005 ' asked the nodal officer of Reliance Infocomm to intercept phone number 011-39565414 and mobile number 9811358986 in the “interest of public safety and the nation”.

“How did the home ministry conclude within a few hours of my bringing the matter to their attention that the letters were forged' How did they give details of the arrest so soon'” asked Mulayam Singh, who went public with his charge on December 30 in Lucknow and the day after Bhupendra was arrested.

He said the issue raised questions about national security because “it proved anyone can acquire sensitive information on forged papers about the country’s defence and foreign affairs. If Samajwadi leaders’ phones can be tapped using forged letters, what is the guarantee that the same process cannot be used to get information about our nuclear programme and the Prime Minister’s Office'”

Home minister Shivraj Patil, who, along with Sonia, was the target of Mulayam Singh’s attack ' held a meeting with home secretary V.K. Duggal later.

It is believed the two agreed that certain provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act must be amended to “streamline” the procedures for tapping and prevent the use of forged documents.

The home ministry had also called private telecom operators for a meeting but it was cancelled without reason.

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