Govt may order inquiry into Gujarat snooping,indicates Shinde

Chairman of State Human Rights Commission can only be removed on orders of the President.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 20, 2013 12:54:45 am

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde hinted at the government ordering a Commission of Inquiry into alleged snooping on a woman in Gujarat allegedly at the behest of BJP leader Amit Shah,even as the ministry sought opinion of the law ministry on sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court to probe into allegations against Justice (retd) A K Ganguly for his removal as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

Speaking on possibility of setting up a Commission,Shinde said several organisations working for women and NGOs had given representations to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding a probe into the alleged “snooping”. “My department is examining them. There are some formalities that have to be completed. It should not happen or look as if we are taking a haphazard decision against a party. Hence,our department is going into details and once that is done,very soon we will take a decision,” he said.

A Commission of Inquiry will have independence as well as adequate powers to seek official documents and call people for questioning,sources said. A probe by such a Commission is considered more credible than a normal police probe. Two news portals,Cobrapost and Gulail,had claimed November 15 that Amit Shah ordered illegal surveillance on a woman in Gujarat at the behest of “one saheb”. They released taped conversation purportedly between Shah and IPS officer G L Singhal to support their claim but said the authenticity of the tape could not be confirmed.

The BJP,however,dismissed the snooping charges. “The much-talked about snooping incident is baseless. Neither the woman nor her father has complained,but Congress appears more rattled. This (law and order) is a state subject and any intervention from the central government will be unconstitutional. We warn the Congress against it,” BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

On the Justice Ganguly issue,Home Minister Shinde said they received West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s letter to the President and are examining it. “Papers have come to us. I can say as of now that we have sent it to the legal department and after obtaining their opinion,we will go ahead,” Shinde said. Mamata has written to the President seeking Ganguly’s removal following a woman lawyer’s allegation of sexual harassment against the former judge and his refusal to quit the post.

Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission can only be removed on the orders of the President following receipt of the Supreme Court’s inquiry report that would be vetted by the Union Cabinet,said officials.

I was denied intern’s affidavit,says Ganguly

Kolkata: As government mulls the option of making a Presidential Reference for his removal as Chief of WBHRC,Justice A K Ganguly Thursday said the three-judge panel of SC denied him copy of the affidavit of the law intern who had levelled a sexual harassment allegation against him.

“I asked for a copy (of the affidavit). I was denied on the grounds of confidentiality. Normal laws require that the person,whose reputation is at stake,must be given a copy of the allegations on the basis of which he has to respond,” Ganguly told TV channels.

He said he was asked to go through the affidavit when he appeared before the panel and “respond immediately”. “I was not given the affidavit in advance. When I asked for it it was denied,” he said. PTI

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