The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought the response of the Centre and the CBI on a petition seeking setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the alleged phone tapping of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval by the probe agency.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said such activities were “very dangerous for the country” and sent a notice to the CBI.
Petitioner Sarthak Chaturvedi has alleged that some CBI officials had abused their power by violating the mandated guidelines on phone tapping and surveillance. The petition has also questioned as to whether permission was received for tapping the phone of Doval and others by the CBI.
The petition refers to CBI DIG Manish Kumar Sinha’s submission in the Supreme Court last year challenging his transfer amid the crisis in the agency.
Sinha, who was among the officers transferred by interim CBI chief Nageswar Rao after then agency director Alok Verma was sent on leave in October, had alleged that NSA Doval interfered in investigations against Special Director Rakesh Asthana and claimed both their phones were put under surveillance.
Sinha, who was probing a bribery case against Asthana, said in his petition that the surveillance had stumbled upon a conversation involving R&AW officer Samant Goel in which he was heard saying that the PMO had managed the CBI issue. That same night, the petition alleged, the entire CBI team involved in the probe against Asthana was removed.
He claimed that Doval informed Asthana about the FIR after which he reportedly made a request to NSA that he should not be arrested. “The NSA informed Rakesh Asthana about the FIR and Asthana reportedly made a request to NSA that he should not be arrested,” the DIG had claimed in his petition.
To conduct surveillance on phones, the CBI needs approval from the home secretary. However, under an ’emergency clause’, an exception can be provided, which permits the head of the agency to order surveillance.
However, the agency is required to inform the home secretary within three days and seek approval in seven days, failing which the telecom firm stops diverting calls to servers especially installed for eavesdropping.