Sugnya Bhatt Commission, which has been appointed by the Modi government to probe into the alleged snooping of a woman architect by the Gujarat Police under the instructions of former Minister of State for Home Amit Shah and one “saheb”, has summoned suspended IPS officer G L Singhal to file his affidavit before the Commission. However, Singhal has sought three more weeks’ time to comply with the Commission’s summon.
Sources said that Singhal had been summoned by the Commission in the first week of February to file his affidavit within a week. The officer, whose possible deposition before the Commission is considered crucial to the entire controversy, has recently brought much embarrassment to the Modi government through his recorded conversations.
Two investigative internet portals — gulail.com and cobrapost.com — revealed the tapes related to the alleged snooping of a woman by Gujarat Police at the behest of Amit Shah. In the audio recordings, Amit Shah is heard instructing IPS officer G L Singhal to stalk and tap phones of a woman, an architect by profession, at the behest of his ‘saheb’. In these audio tapes, the voices of several other top police officers can also be heard, indicating their involvement in the alleged scandal.
The taped conversations reveal that the officials of the Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch, Gujarat ATS and State IB were tracking every movement of this woman from her residence to restaurants, hotels, cinema theatres and airports.
The Gujarat government appointed the two-member commission, comprising former High Court judge Sugnya Bhatt and former Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of Gujarat K C Kapoor, on November 26, 2013, to probe into various aspects of the controversy and submit its report within three months.
As per an RTI reply by the General Administration Department of Gujarat, the commission was appointed following a decision taken by Modi.
Earlier, founder-editor of gulail.com, Ashish Khetan, was summoned by the Commission. However, Khetan submitted his affidavit along with the CDs, containing the audio recordings, and questioned the jurisdiction of the Commission over the matter, while also stating that the purpose of the Commission seemed more to put journalists under probe than the state government. Khetan had also questioned the stoic silence of the Gujarat government over the alleged stalking of the woman and the defence of the alleged act by the Gujarat unit of BJP.