The Karnataka government has ordered a CBI inquiry into alleged phone-tapping of politicians, officials and senior IPS officers over the last year, a government official said on Monday.
On the directive of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, state Home Department Deputy Secretary BS Srinivasa has directed the premier investigation agency to investigate the alleged illegal and unauthorised telephone interception in the last one year (since August 1, 2018) till August 19, 2019 of several ruling and opposition political leaders, their relatives and government officials.
"The order was issued following reports in a section of the media that the previous Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had asked the state intelligence wing to tap phones of BJP leaders, rebel legislators of the former coalition allies and some IPS officers to find out if attempts were made to destabilise the JD-S-Congress coalition government," the official told IANS.
Though Yediyurappa, who also holds the home portfolio as a one-man Cabinet so far, directed state Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar on August 14 to inquire into the snooping charge, Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah and JD-S' disqualified rebel legislator A.H. Vishwanath sought a CBI probe as it involved people like Congress power broker Faraz Ahmed, Congress senior leader Ahmed Patel and former PWD minister H.D. Revanna, who is the elder brother of Kumaraswamy and second son of JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda.
Names and voices of Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Alok Kumar Singh and the state Intelligence wing's ADGP Kamal Pant were also heard in the audio tapes.
Kumaraswamy, however, denied ordering snooping and dared the BJP government to hold the probe by an international agency. His father Deve Gowda also opposed the CBI probe as an inquiry into the charge by the state police was underway.
As the case has been filed by the cyber-crime police station in the city under section 72 of the IT Act, 2000 and section 26 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the audio tapes, documents and the interim report of Joint Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil will be handed over to the CBI office in the city.
As per the order, the CBI will identify and investigate the persons involved in the alleged telephone interception of opposition leaders and officials.
The order, however, did not specify the timeframe by when the CBI should complete the probe and submit its report with findings to the state government.