Less than 48 hours before the new government takes charge, there is a twist to the snoopgate controversy.
On May 9, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told the Supreme Court that Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal had “already made a statement that there is no proposal to appoint a commission of enquiry” to probe the alleged snooping of a young woman by Gujarat Police on the directions of “saheb” (a reference to Narendra Modi).
The court was hearing a petition filed by the woman, an architect, and her father, challenging the decision of the Centre and the Gujarat government to order separate probes into the alleged snoopgate, saying they infringed on their right to privacy.
On Friday, Sibal sent a note to his ministry, questioning the basis on which the SG had attributed the statement to him, asserting he had never said so.
“He (Parasaran) told the court that I had said there was no proposal to appoint a commission of inquiry to probe snoopgate. I hadn’t instructed him to make such a statement before the court. When I asked him who had told him that I had made such a statement, he said the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) officers had told him. How could the MHA have told him to tell the court about a statement that I had never made? I have written so on the file and also asked the SG to clarify the factual position to the court,” Sibal told The Sunday Express.
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It is learnt that a communication has been sent to the SG, asking him to clarify the matter to the court. Despite attempts, Parasaran could not be reached for comments. He was said to be in Chennai.
Following Parasaran’s statement in court, the bench of Justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and N V Ramana had ordered that in view of the his statement, the prayer in the petition, that the Union of India be restrained from setting up a commission of inquiry as decided by the Union Cabinet on December 26, “does not survive”.
Disposing the petition, the bench also allowed the petitioners to withdraw the prayer that the Gujarat government be directed to stop the appointment of any probe panel in the matter, giving them to liberty to approach the High Court of Gujarat for “appropriate relief”.
In their petition, the father-daughter duo had alleged that on the basis of the “unauthorised and unverified contents” posted in two websites, a sinister and defamatory campaign had been started in electronic and print media by “certain vested interest groups”. The campaign, they said, had resulted in tarnishing the reputation of the petitioners and their family members, causing them immense anguish.