The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the alleged phone tapping during HD Kumaraswamy's 14 month tenure as Chief Minister, has requested the minutes of the meetings held by the high-powered committee that approves requests for intercepting calls. "This committee gives permission on a case-by-case basis depending on whether it has something to do with national security or an investigation," the source said.
Sources say that the CBI is looking to obtain minutes of the meetings held between August 1, 2018 and August 30, 2019.
The investigating team headed by CBI Superintendent of Police Kiran, is also going to requisition the calls intercepted using the 16 devices in possession of the Karnataka State Police between this period. The CBI had on August 30, registered an FIR under section 72 (Penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy) of the Information Technology Act and section 26 (unlawfully intercepting or disclosing messages) of the Indian Telegraph Act.
The FIR states that upon the instruction of the former Police Commissioner of Bengaluru (Alok Kumar), phones of politicians were tapped legally, but the interception details were downloaded and published unlawfully. The FIR also states that the CBI is probing illegal interceptions of phones of political leaders belonging to the BJP.
â€śInitially, the Cyber Crime unit headed by Sandeep Patil had registered an FIR under section 72 of IT Act and conducted a preliminary probe. Back then, three police officers attached with the Technical Support Centre of the Bengaluru Police â€“ Mirza Ali, Balaraj, Malatesh and Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramachandrappa were questioned by Sandeep Patil as they were the ones who tapped the phone of Misbauddin Mukharam, an accused in a Ponzi Scam case. They said that they had tapped the accusedâ€™s phone on orders from the then Cyber Crime chief Alok Kumar,â€ť the source said.
In August, audio tapes of a telephonic conversation between Misbauddin and a senior police officer had gone viral on social media after it was leaked. CBI sources say that the conversation was recorded after permission was obtained to tap Misbauddinâ€™s phone.
â€śMisbauddin has been accused of a halal ponzi scam and the Wilson Garden Police had registered an FIR against him in August 2018. His phone was tapped so the police could track him down. He was arrested in June this year. This audio conversation between the senior police officer and Misbauddin was downloaded in a pen drive and given to the former Police Commissioner at 2 pm on August 2 this year. The question is who leaked it,â€ť the source added.
Soon after the audio was released, Chief Minister Yediyurappa alleged that phones of over 300 politicians and their associates and relatives was tapped by the former Congress-JD(S) coalition government. The probe was handed over to the CBI last week.
CBI sources say that the investigators are looking to cross reference the phone taps approved by the high-powered committee with the actual number of phones that were tapped by obtaining data from the 16 machines. â€śIf any information has been deleted, we will have to retrieve it. If there is no discrepancy, then the allegation of phone tapping of politicians would be false,â€ť the source added.