Government orders probe into 'snoopgate'

Inquiry into surveillance of female architect allegedly at behest of top BJP leader to be completed within three months.

    Government orders probe into 'snoopgate'
    The BJP, stating it would legally challenge the inquiry, termed the move as a "witch hunt" against Modi [Reuters]

    The Indian government is launching an inquiry into the snooping of a woman allegedly by the Gujarat state police at the instance of Prime Ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi’s aide Amit Shah.

    The move to institute the commission of inquiry has incensed the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which smells a political motive behind it. The inquiry was approved by the federal cabinet on Thursday.

    Modi is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and the Chief Minister of Gujarat state. The spying was allegedly carried out at the behest of his aide Shah who was the state home minister at the time.

    The inquiry was ordered after several women’s organisations reportedly protested to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee against the stalking of the female architect based in the southern city of Bangalore, allegedly by Shah under the directions of a "Saheb", or "master" in Hindi.

    'Snoopgate' was exposed by two investigative portals Gulail and Cobrapost which claim that "Saheb" was none other than Narendra Modi. According to their report in two parts, "Saheb" was allegedly more than just curious in the personal routine of the female architect and her relationship with another man.

    While the first part purported to show that the surveillance happened within Gujarat state, the second more recent one showed that the snooping had been attempted even in southern Karnataka state.

    Legal challenge

    The Gujarat government had already ordered an inquiry into snoopgate under a retired high court judge. Notwithstanding that, the central government too is instituting a parallel investigation as the surveillance cuts across more than one state, reports said.

    The inquiry set up by the central government is likely to be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court and will examine all the people named in snoopgate. The probe will have to come out with its findings in three months.

    The BJP, stating it would legally challenge the inquiry, termed the move as politically motivated and a "witch hunt" against Modi.

    The inquiry comes at a time when political parties are gearing up for the all-important national elections scheduled in April-May 2014. 

    While Modi, as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, is seen to be a serious challenger, the ruling Congress has not yet made public its candidate for the top job.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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