Congress questions Dhumal’s silence on mass phone-tapping

Shimla, Aug 2 (IANS) Himachal Congress president Sukhvinder Sukhu on Sunday questioned former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal over his silence on mass phone-tapping during his regime.

“By doing so, Dhumal not only violated the Indian Telegraph Act but also infringed upon the personal life of these people,” Sukhu said in a statement here.

He said the BJP leader should explain to the people as to what were the reasons for phone-tapping of so many people which included leaders of the Congress and the BJP, journalists and common people.

The Congress leader said Dhumal should make it clear “whether all the people whose phones were tapped at that time were all criminals, anti-social elements or what kind of threat they posed to the state or the government at that time”.

He said the Congress had raised the issue during the 2012 state assembly elections and now even senior BJP leader and Kangra Lok Sabha member Shanta Kumar has raised it.

“Not only Shanta Kumar raised serious questions on phone-tapping, but he has also demanded a CBI inquiry into the case,” he said.

Sukhu said that during the previous BJP government, Dhumal was the chief minister and he was also heading the home department. Therefore, he owed moral responsibility to explain his and his party’s stand on the issue.

Dhumal has already refuted the charges.

Over 1,300 phones were tapped, mainly of Congress leaders, government functionaries and journalists in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act, officials say. Of these, the home department had granted permission to tap only 170 phones.

The present government registered a case on June 26, 2013, related to the tapping.

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