The Gujarat snooping controversy came up in the Supreme Court on Tuesday as suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma,who is also a staunch critic of the Modi government,urged the court to urgently hear his plea on the contentious audio tapes aired by news portals Cobrapost and Gulail featuring alleged illegal surveillance of a woman.
Acceding to the plea,the bench,comprising Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam,Justice Ranjana P Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi,fixed the hearing for the first week of December.
Seeking the courts immediate intervention,Sharmas counsel Prashant Bhushan told the bench,A very important development has taken place recently after some tapes have come to light. Something very serious has happened and hence the court needs to list this matter urgently.
Speaking to The Indian Express later,Bhushan said,We will ask for an independent probe by the CBI or a special investigation team into the snooping controversy because it directly has a bearing on our case. A probe will establish that the state government had taken vindictive action against Sharma because he was aware of the woman and the snooping incident.
He said frivolous cases were slapped on Sharma after he came to know about the woman and her association with the state government the same woman purportedly referred to in the audio tapes. We have always maintained that the state police was biased and hence the investigation needs to be transferred to an independent agency. An in-depth inquiry into the audio tapes will corroborate our stand, he said.
While Bhushan insisted that the matter should be heard not later than the first week of December,Gujarats Additional Advocate General told the bench that it should be heard at length and sought a hearing in the second week.
The portals have claimed that the surveillance was conducted by the Gujarat ATS in 2009 on the instructions of Amit Shah,a close aide of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi,who was then minister of state for home. The tapes were reportedly submitted by suspended IPS officer G L Singhal.