Phone tapping: Haryana cops to seek details of targeted numbers

Cops to ask telecom firms to give details on its officers’ registered cellphones

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh | Published: July 2, 2012 12:10 am

Cops to ask telecom firms to give details on its officers’ registered cellphones

While the Centre has recently slammed the states,particularly Haryana,asking them to immediately return all phone tapping and surveillance equipment,the Haryana Police has decided to take a detour in order to continue with the same.

The state police wants “automated locations of targeted mobile numbers on the registered cellphones” of its officers,besides various other information related to records of call details and SMS pertaining to the mobile and landline phones,which the police wants to put under surveillance.

In this regard,the top brass of Haryana Police is set to hold a confidential meeting with the chief executive and operating officers of telecom service providers of Delhi,Haryana and Punjab circles on July 2.

In a communication (a copy of which is with The Indian Express) on June 22,titled “Interception” and circulated among the top brass of the police,the Haryana Police has put forward 10 agenda items for the meeting to be held in Panchkula. In the communication,the ADGP (CID) has requested all telecom service providers of the three circles to bring along their nodal officers to hold a discussion on the agenda items.

The officers will discuss with the telecom service providers (TSPs) the difficulties faced by them,including late receipt of sanctions from the state government for phone interceptions. The issue of lack of verification of identity documents and issuance of pre-paid numbers on forged or incomplete documents will also be taken up. Another vital point to be discussed will be the “round-the-clock” response on the details of intercepted phones — like locations,call details,SMS etc.

According to sources,the police will also ask the TSPs to provide the call records of the targeted phone numbers in a prescribed format — to be distributed to the TSPs during the meeting. This will include information on the missed calls and attempted calls made from and at the targeted phones. At present,the TSPs do not provide call detail records of targeted phones while in roaming. This will also come up for discussion.

“The misuse of any such measures cannot be ruled out,but certain procedures are very useful in investigations,which include cellphone surveillance. The TSPs’ cooperation is required and thus,a meeting has been called. Since the Centre has asked the states not to indulge in phone tapping on their own,the help of TSPs become all the more important,” a senior police officer said.

In the recent past,phone tapping of socialite Niira Radia and former SP leader Amar Singh has raised questions over the “use and abuse” of phone tapping equipment. The issue had rocked the Parliament,following which,the Centre had cracked the whip,directing all central and state monitoring agencies to return all kind of phone tapping or interception equipment to the Department of Telecom. The MHA had also issued an advisory to the state governments and Union Territories,warning them of action,in case the directions were violated.

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