The Times of India reports that phones of several associates of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor were tapped on approval of the Union Home Ministry to identify "suspicious activities" in connection to his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death, according to sources in Delhi Police commissioner's office.
Sources also reportedly told TOI that at least five to six phone numbers had been tapped for around a month and that Tharoor's voice was also present in the intercepted conversations.
The names of the people, to whom the numbers belong, have not been divulged.
Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act provides for telephone tapping by the government under specific conditions which include public emergency or in the interest of public safety or "in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence."
Though it is not clear on what specific grounds the home ministry approved tapping of phones in this case, sources told the newspaper that it was on the basis of suspicion of a foreign hand in Pushkar's murder.
The TOI report further states, "However, the location of the tapped numbers was found to be in and around Leela Hotel between January 16 and 17 in 2014, when Sunanda had been found dead, the sources added. The numbers were also in touch with each other."
"After the decision was taken, the SIT had moved a formal request for tapping these numbers. The request was then routed through official channels which moved the file to the home ministry for approval. The call detail records of these numbers were also obtained from the mobile telecom operator along with list of fliers who flew in and out of India to Pakistan and Middle East countries," an officer told TOI.
Just recently, an FBI lab report stated that Sunanda Pushkar did not die of poisoning from polonium or any other radioactive substance.