Congress demands probe into ‘bugging’ at Gadkari’s residence
NEW DELHI: The controversy over the alleged bugging at
the residence of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari refused to die down with Congress
on Monday demanding a probe and government virtually rejecting it.
Gadkari, who holds the portfolio of Highways and
Transport, himself calibrated his statement on Monday completely denying there
was any bugging while on Sunday he had described reports in this regard with an
ambivalent description that they were ‘highly speculative’.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his Minister of
State Kiren Rijiju declined to wade into the controversy saying Gadkari himself
has clarified that these reports were highly speculative.
Asked whether the Home Ministry would initiate any
probe into it, Rajnath Singh said, “Since Gadkari himself has denied, we have
nothing to say on it.”
Unconvinced by Gadkari’s dismissal, Congress General
Secretary Digvijay Singh demanded a probe by an investigating agency into the
episode saying it was a serious matter. “It concerns the security of an
important person in the Indian cabinet. If it can happen to him, then God save
the country,” he said.
His views were echoed by former External Affairs
Minister Salman Khurshid, who also demanded an inquiry. Another Congress leader
Manish Tewari said the government must inform the citizens the legal
architecture available to protect themselves from such incidents.
Rejecting the allegations that it was the UPA
government that had done the bugging, he said the NDA was now in power and it
should put in public domain all details it has about the incident.
Referring to former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s
statement on Sunday that a thorough probe should be conducted into the
incident, NCP leader Tariq Anwar said the government “must issue a statement in
the House about the authenticity of the bugging incident and whether the PMO or
any external forces are involved in it.”
To a question on whether he had any knowledge of the
American National Security Agency wanting to spy on BJP, former external
affairs minister Salman Khurshid replied in negative, saying the US had the
best of relations with that party.
Noting that BJP had all the resources and powers at
its disposal, he said, “If they think there is something they must look at and
investigate, then they should do it. It is important that they must share the
information, once something like this has come out in public domain.... They
must share the entire information to put public mind to rest and also to make
sure that our country remains protected...,” he said.
A media report had claimed that high power listening
devices were found in the bed room at the 13 Teen Murti Lane residence of
Gadkari, who is a former BJP chief. Blaming the US for the bugging incident,
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said it never wanted ‘nationalistic’ parties such
as BJP to come to power.
As the controversy continued, Gadkari on Monday insisted
that no snooping devices were found anywhere at his residence. “As already
stated, I reiterate that no devices were found at my residence anywhere,” he
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said
the matter should be probed. Gadkari himself sought to dispel the reports
yesterday by terming them as ‘highly speculative’. Congress said that the
alleged bugging reflected ‘lack of faith and mutual trust’ among ministers of
the NDA Government.