July 10, 2021 3:20:15 am
INDEPENDENT MP Sumalatha Ambarish has claimed her telephone as well as that of important Vokkaliga seer Nirmalananda Swami was being tapped under the Congress-JD(S) government in the state in 2018-19, and that CBI officers probing an illegal tapping case had approached her with details of the numbers under watch.
The allegations by Ambarish, an actress-turned-politician, come amid a war of words with the JD(S), including former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, over alleged illegal mining around the KRS dam region in her constituency of Mandya. She had been a surprise winner from Mandya in 2019, over Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy.
“CBI officials spoke to me regarding the phone tapping affair. They spoke to me twice, in Delhi and Bengaluru, two officers spoke to me. They showed me a list of phone numbers being tapped and said ‘They were tapping your phone’,” the MP told reporters Friday.
She added that while “it is not right for me to drag a highly revered person like the seer into this controversy”, it was a fact that Nirmalananda Swami’s phone was also tapped. “I have to mention it to expose the things these people are doing. I don’t have any choice,” Ambarish said.
Allegations about tapping of Ambarish’s phone under the Kumaraswamy government had first emerged during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. Audio clips of phone conversations of members in her camp had come out in the public domain, and Sumalatha had complained to the Election Commission.
Kumaraswamy has in the past denied links to the alleged illegal tapping of phones by the police during his tenure. “Phone tapping has occurred during the tenure of every CM. Let them investigate me if they want,” he had said.
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