The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tapped conversation under scanner

New Delhi, Jan. 14: The Centre today denied any political hand in the tapping of Amar Singh’s phone. But sources hinted that a police investigation has opened up the possibility of initiating action against the politician if the intercepts have incriminating content and the voice on tape matches his.

The sources in the home ministry said that apart from detailing progress in the investigation, the police report on the tapping asks for a directive whether it should register a separate criminal case if an offence is prima facie made out in the illegally-tapped conversation conducted from Amar Singh’s phone.

“If investigations into the phone tapping reveal that national interest was involved, then it could lead to framing of charges against the perpetrator, whosoever it is. The legality of phone tapping can take a back seat in such an instance where national interest is involved,” a senior official said.

The voice samples have been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Hyderabad for testing. “We have asked CFSL to send us its report as early as possible. It will help us throw important light on some other aspects of phone tapping,” a senior police officer said.

Union home secretary V.K. Duggal announced today that investigation by Delhi police has revealed that the phone tapping was a sting operation organised by a private detective along with some others for monetary and other gains.

“I wish to inform that there are no indications of any political party or political personality being involved. It is once again made clear that there is no involvement of either the central government or the Delhi government, including Delhi police, in this matter. The investigation is, however, under progress,” he said.

“To ensure that such lapses do not occur, we have also asked the department of telecom (DoT) to assist us in the exercise. Whether the lapse was deliberate or just an oversight is very much a part of the investigation of Delhi police,” Duggal added, indicating that the role of Reliance Infocomm is also under scanner.

Earlier, the Samajwadi Party leader had alleged that his phone was being tapped by the Centre and Delhi police on orders from 10 Janpath.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav today said he has ordered a probe by his state’s special task force (STF) into the phone tapping, adds PTI.

“When we came to know that those behind the phone tapping of party leader Amar Singh are now probing it, I immediately ordered a probe in the matter by STF,” he said hours after Duggal’s statement that the tapping was a “sting operation”.

But the chief minister said the parallel probe does not signal a confrontation with the Centre.

Amar Singh’s friend Ashok Chaturvedi, the chairman of Flex Industries, was questioned for two-and-a-half hours today at Lodhi Road police station in connection with the tapping. Chaturvedi had tipped off the Samajwadi leader about the tapping.

The questioning comes a day after Amar Singh was grilled by the police.

Four persons have been arrested in connection with the tapping so far.

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