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Phone tapped in 2016-17, says Congress leader Patole; Maharashtra govt orders high-level inquiry

“This is a serious issue (phone tapping of Patole). I announce that a high-level inquiry will be conducted into it and action will be taken against those responsible,” said Dilip Walse Patil, Maharashtra home minister.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
Updated: July 6, 2021 8:17:19 pm
Congress Maharashtra assembly polls MVANana Patole said his phone was tapped by police on the pretext that it belonged to one Amjad Khan, who was involved in narcotics trade. (File)

Maharashtra government on Tuesday ordered a high-level inquiry into the allegations made by Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole that his phone was tapped during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.

“Patole has spoken about his phone being tapped during 2016-17. He has also mentioned that the phones of other people were also put on surveillance. This is a serious issue. I announce that a high-level inquiry will be conducted into it and action will be taken against those responsible,” said Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil in response to the issue raised by Patole in the Legislative Assembly.
The report will be tabled in the House in the next assembly session, he added.

Explaining the procedure, the minister said that the state intelligence commissioner needs to provide the name, number and reasons for the surveillance while seeking permission from the additional chief secretary of the Home department.

“My phone was tapped during 2016-17 under the name of Amjad Khan, claiming that he was involved in narcotics smuggling. Why my name was not used and a Muslim name was given for the phone tapping? Did they want to play politics in the name of religion by creating controversy between Hindus and Muslims?” asked Patole.

The Congress leader further claimed that Union Minister Raosaheb Danve’s personal assistant, then BJP Parliamentarian Sanjay Kakade, and other elected representatives’ phones were also tapped. “I was a Member of Parliament in 2016-17 and there was no reason to tap my phone. This is an attempt to destroy their political career,” he added. Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Nawab Malik and Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu came in support of Patole’s demand for an inquiry.

Meanwhile, NCP leader and Irrigation Minister Jayant Patil said, “Many of us are seeing the opposition leaders’ statements threatening the MVA leaders of an investigation by central agencies such as ED and CBI.” He added: “So, if the phones of the members of the House are being tapped by central agencies, then there is a need to protect the members. The Home Minister should inform the House about how many members’ phones are being tapped by central agencies.”

In response, the Home Minister said that the issue falls under the purview of the Centre. “But, information will be sought on it and presented before the House,” Walse Patil added.

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