Gujarat Snoopgate: Home ministry to move Union Cabinet to abandon probe
NEW DELHI: The
previous UPA government’s controversial move to order a probe into the
‘Snoopgate’ affair may get a quiet burial with the Home ministry expected to
move the Union Cabinet soon to abandon the plan.
A note will be
presented before the Union Cabinet to scrap the December 26, 2013, order to set
up a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the charges of surveillance of a
young woman in 2009 in Gujarat, official sources said. Minister of State for
Home Kiren Rijiju had already indicated that the “politically-motivated”
decision to set up the inquiry commission would be reviewed by the NDA
BJP had strongly
opposed the controversial move by the then Manmohan Singh government and
demanded that the probe be stopped as a parallel inquiry had been ordered into
the matter by Gujarat government. The UPA government’s decision to set up the
inquiry triggered a political row as the ‘Snoopgate’ affair was alleged to have
involved Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister.
It was announced
that the commission, to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired
chief justice of a high court, would also look into charges of snooping on Himachal
Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh by the previous BJP government when he
was in the opposition as well as the leaking of the call data records of Arun
Jaitley, now Union Finance Minister, in Delhi.
The Union Cabinet
had taken its decision on the probe under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, which
the Gujarat government, too, had used to set up a similar panel. Reports
suggest that as no retired judge was willing to head the probe commission, the
UPA government had to abandon the plan to appoint the same, days before the Lok
Sabha election results were announced.