Reopening the Snoopgate controversy, a BJP MP has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a CBI inquiry against former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, the then UPA government and the Congress leadership for allegedly trying to “influence the judiciary” in fast-tracking a probe into the matter just before the results of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In a letter he sent to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, a member of key parliamentary committees including Finance and Public Accounts Committee where he heads two sub-committees, alleged that 13 days before the Lok Sabha election results, Shinde had written to Chief Justice G Rohini of Delhi High Court, requesting her to “send a suitable name of a sitting High Court Judge as early as possible” to carry out an inquiry into the Snoopgate matter.
The Snoopgate row erupted in November 2013 when news websites Cobrapost and Gulail released audio tapes, alleging that Amit Shah, as Gujarat Home Minister, ordered illegal surveillance of a young woman by Gujarat police and intelligence agencies under instructions from Saheb. The Congress alleged that Saheb was a reference to Modi who was then Gujarat CM. Later, the woman’s father claimed he had requested the Gujarat government to place his daughter under surveillance for her safety.
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Dubey’s letter stated that Shinde, in a May 3, 2014 communication to Chief Justice Rohini, said that the Union Cabinet, in a meeting on December 26, 2013, had approved the proposal for appointment of a commission of inquiry “to look into the incidents of physical/electronic surveillance, allegedly without authorization, in the state of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi”.
But the probe did not take off even four months after the decision since the government could not appoint anyone to conduct the inquiry and no retired judge stepped forward to take up the assignment.
Alleging that it was a “deep rooted conspiracy of the then Congress High Command”, Dubey said Shinde’s act of pursuing the matter to form the commission of inquiry just 13 days before the result of the 2014 elections, and that too on a decision taken by the Cabinet months earlier, showed the “nefarious agenda” of the UPA Congress top brass which wanted to create a “destabilising situation”.
He said he had also sent to the Prime Minister a copy of the letter written by Shinde to the Chief Justice. “I would request you to order a CBI-led inquiry into various aspects of the entire matter and the role of Congress leadership… who despite knowing fully well that they were a caretaker government, tried to influence the judiciary,” Dubey wrote to the Prime Minister. “The last minute move of the Congress party did not succeed. I am told that the then Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court did not consider the matter.”
Chief Justice Rohini could not be reached for comment. An attendant, who answered the phone at her residence, said she was out of Delhi. When his comments were sought, Shinde said he could not recall immediately whether he had written or not written any such letter. He declined to comment on Dubey’s charges.