The CBI Thursday conducted searches at the residence of former Bengaluru Police Commissioner Alok Kumar in connection with alleged phone tapping of politicians and bureaucrats during the tenure of the Congress-JDS government, news agency PTI reported.
The Karnataka government led by B S Yediyurappa had announced a CBI probe after disqualified JD(S) MLA A H Vishwanath, who served as the party’s state president and turned rebel, accused the H D Kumaraswamy government of tapping phones and spying on more than 300 people, including him.
The CBI had taken over the probe in August. “It has come to the notice of the government that there are apprehensions that phones of several ruling and Opposition political leaders, their relatives and other government officials have been intercepted in an illegal/unauthorised/unwanted manner,” the letter entrusting the probe to the CBI said.
The CBI has been asked to investigate all “illegal/unwanted/unauthorised interceptions of telephones of political leaders belonging to the ruling party and opposition parties, as well as their associates, relatives and government servants’’. The probe will thus look into whether the authorisation protocol prescribed by law was followed in call intercepts during this period.
Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, M Mallikarjuna Kharge and home minister in the alliance government M B Patil, had demanded an investigation while another key party leader and former minister D K Shivakumar – who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in a money laundering case – had rejected the snooping charges. Several BJP leaders, including former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, have directly accused Kumaraswamy of orchestrating the snooping in order to save his government from falling.
Kumaraswamy who was at the helm of power when the phones were allegedly tapped said he is open to any probe. “Let them do any inquiry, whether it is a CBI inquiry or any other agency of international standard, or let them talk to Trump (US President Donald Trump), and get it inquired through someone from his side,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.