The Rajya Sabha privileges committee will revisit the report that said unauthorised access of Arun Jaitley’s call data records in 2013 was not a breach of privilege and consider enlarging its scope to include phone-tapping of MPs. Deputy chairman P J Kurien, who heads the committee, said he would go by the sense of the House which has sought a review of the committee report.
Raising the issue during zero hour, the SP’s Naresh Aggrawal said the entire House had in 2013 expressed concern over then leader of the opposition Jaitley’s CDRs being accessed but the panel reported that the act, though “sinister” and punishable by law, “does not seem to cause any hindrance of obstruction in the functioning of an MP so as to attract breach of his parliamentary privileges.” Aggrawal said going by the report, anybody can access details of any MP.
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The Congress’s Anand Sharma alleged there was rampant phone-tapping and surveillance on political leaders, senior judges and senior civil servants. Two NDA ministers have complained of phone-tapping, he said, adding the home minister has stated the government had not authorised the tapping. “We want to know from the Prime Minister which agency is doing it,” he said.
The CPM’s Sitaram Yechury and the BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra favoured enlarging the scope of the panel to include phone-tapping.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said if the committee reviews its report, “that will be better”.
Kurien said, “I am accepting the suggestions (of revisiting the report)… there is no prestige issue”. On enlarging the scope, Kurien said the chair will examine it and come back to the House.