No phone-tapping of politicians, says CM
By Express News Service | Published: 08th December 2012 02:05 PM |
Breaking his silence on the telephone tapping issue, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said in the Assembly that the State Government has not intercepted the telephones or mobile phones of any minister, MLA, MP, IAS or IPS officer or for that matter anyone who is not involved in any criminal or Naxal activity.
Replying to a debate on supplementary demand of grants relating to the Home department, the Chief Minister, however, admitted that the State Government has given orders for legal interceptions of 4,620 telephones during the last four years, which was less than 1,200 per year.
The State Government gives permission for legal interception under Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, he said.
Against this, the Centre gives order for the interception of 7,500 to 9,000 telephones per month on an average, which works out to about one lakh per year, he said and added, “the figures speak for themselves”.
However, agitated Congress members staged a walkout led by Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh as he was not allowed to finish his speech on the debate. Singh said the Government was resorting to telephone tapping of political persons. The Supreme Court has described tapping as undemocratic. All ministers and members of this House, except perhaps the Chief Minister, are under scanner, he alleged.
Countering the charges, Naveen said his Government believes in democratic values, transparency in governance and ethics in public life. “I do not believe in shortcuts,” he said.
Initiating the debate, Opposition chief whip Prasad Harichandan demanded a judicial probe. Countering statements from BJD members that there has been no phone-tapping, Harichandan said Mumbai-based High-Tech Technologies had supplied the programme Dial-LOG SF for tapping.
Describing tapping as undemocratic which violated the right to privacy, Harichandan demanded that the State Government should reveal the categories of persons who were under scanner.