Updated: January 24, 2020 6:40:36 pm
As the BJP and Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra engage in a war of words over phone tapping allegations, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday dismissed charges and claimed it was not the culture of the state.
Asserting that his government had not given any such orders, Fadnavis said the Uddhav Thackeray-led government was free to conduct any probe into the phone-tapping charges against his dispensation.
“Phone-tapping is not the culture of Maharashtra. My government had not given any such orders,” Fadnavis, the leader of the opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, was quoted as saying by PTI.
Attacking the Thackeray government, Fadnavis further said, “The whole country knows the credibility of those who have leveled such allegations.”
Reports of Fadnavis government having misused government machinery to tap the phones of opposition leaders had surfaced on Thursday. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the state government has started a probe into the alleged tapping of phones of senior Congress and NCP leaders by previous government. Deshmukh was speaking at Bhandara, where he visited first time on Friday after becoming District Guardian Minister.
“The previous BJP government had tried to snoop on telephone conversations of senior Congress and NCP leaders before the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. There are allegations that the BJP government had sent some government officials to Israel at government cost and had secured software that was used to hear the conversations of senior Congress and NCP leaders and to derive political benefit from it,” adding, “our government has started a probe into the matter.”
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said that a BJP leader had informed him about his phone being tapped by the previous BJP government. “A BJP leader had told me that my phone was being tapped. I said if anybody wants to listen to what I am saying, I welcome it. I am Balasaheb’s chela (disciple), whatever I do, I do it openly,” Raut told reporters, adding “Inspite of the phone tapping, we formed the government in Maharashtra.”
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had also earlier alleged that phones of opposition leaders were tapped by the Fadnavis government and raised questions about the involvement of officials in the episode.
(with ENS, PTI inputs)
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