The Telegraph
Saturday , May 3 , 2014
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Snoop row back, Jaitley cries foul

- Judicial commission to be in place before May 16: Government

New Delhi, May 2 (PTI): The government today re-ignited the snooping scandal allegedly involving Narendra Modi by asserting that a judicial commission will be in place by May 16, evoking an angry reaction by BJP which warned of reviewing the “illegitimate” decision if it comes to power.

The BJP also warned of similar action if the government goes ahead with the “last-minute” moves to set up the Lokpal search committee and appoint central information commissioners.

Reviving the controversy involving spying on a young woman allegedly at the behest of Modi, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and law minister Kapil Sibal said that an inquiry commission will be in place by the end of the Lok Sabha election process on May 16.

The government had decided on December 26 last year to set up the inquiry commission but the process had got delayed reportedly because of its inability to zero in on a judge.

“The cabinet had taken the decision to appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the incident of snooping on a woman in Gujarat. We will soon appoint the judge... before May 16,” Shinde told a news conference in Shimla.

Asked if the appointment of a judge in the midst of Lok Sabha elections would not amount to violation of the model code of conduct, Shinde said: “It will not. The decision had been taken by the Union cabinet much before the model code of conduct came into force.”

“I am worried. The way the chief minister of Gujarat had snooped into the life of a woman, I am really worried what will happen to the women of the country if he becomes Prime Minister,” Shinde said.

In New Delhi, law minister Kapil Sibal said that a judge would be appointed by May 16.

Reacting sharply, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the government was showing “desperation” and that it will be within the purview of the new government to hold this decision as “illegitimate”.

The party also charged the government with “stooping low” by attempting to appoint a judge merely 15 days ahead of the next government formation.

The Congress termed as “very intimidating” Jaitley’s remarks that he would be surprised if some judge would agree to “lend” himself for the inquiry. The Congress today said it was an “advance warning of the shape of things to come”.

Party spokesperson and Union minister Anand Sharma dubbed the BJP leader as a “known apologist of Narendra Modi” and said his remarks are “literally very intimidating” and “in fact, threatening” and conveying a sense as to who among the judges “can dare” to come forward for such a probe against the BJP’s candidate for Prime Minister.

“I do not expect anything better from Jaitley, who is a known apologist of Narendra Modi. He has literally intimidated by saying which judge will accept to inquire. He is curious to know the identity of the judge. This is, in fact, threatening or conveying a message that you dare to get into this or inquire,” he said.