The police in Indian state of Gujarat have refused to register a complaint against the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi and his aide for allegedly spying on a young woman using state machinery.
The police in the state, of which Modi is the chief minister, rejected the complaint reportedly on the grounds that a state judicial commission was already inquiring into the case.
Two investigative websites Cobrapost and Gulail.com a couple of months ago had aired audio tapes which purported to show that in 2009, when Modi aide Amit Shah was the Gujarat interior minister, he had ordered the police to mount surveillance on a young woman architect at the behest of a "saheb" or "master".
It was widely speculated and alleged by the ruling Congress party that "saheb" was none other than Narendra Modi, who is also the opposition BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the forthcoming national elections.
The complaint was attempted to be filed by bureaucrat Pradeep Sharma, who in 2010 was suspended by the Gujarat government on charges of corruption.
Sharma has alleged that he was victimised and spied upon as Modi and his aide believed that the woman under surveillance had a special relationship with him (Sharma), and had supposedly shared sensitive video clips with him.
Not giving up
Sharma, unfazed by the police refusal, told reporters that he would approach senior officers with his complaint, based on the purported findings of the two investigative websites.
If the top officers too refuse his complaint, he would approach the courts to get his way, reports quoting Sharma said on Tuesday.
In Modi’ s defence, the BJP says the woman-architect’s father, who is personally known to the Gujarat chief minister, had asked him to keep a watch on his daughter as he was worried about her safely.
In December, a non-governmental activist group had attempted to similarly file a complaint against Modi and his aide Shah. But the police refused to take cognisance.
The snooping allegations which have put the BJP and Modi on the defensive are expected to become a bigger issue as elections draw nearer.
BJP’s rival, the federal Congress-led government, has already announced a separate judicial commission to investigate the scandal, also being called "snoopgate" by the local media.
Federal Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said a retired judge of the country’s Supreme Court would soon be appointed to head the inquiry commission.