Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday criticised the tapping of phones of elected representatives, and said if such actions are not necessitated out of national security but for personal gains they harm democracy, and go against the law.
“If it’s (phone tapping) done for national security or public safety then it’s fine. But it is completely wrong if someone is tapping the phones of political leaders and public representatives for their personal gain. It is against the law and not right in the democracy,” Pawar told news agency ANI.
Pawar’s remarks come a day after the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government formed a three-member committee headed by director general of police Sanjay Pandey on Friday to probe the allegations of phone tapping of elected officials by the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government. The committee has been asked to investigate all phone tapping cases in the past five years, from 2015-2019. A report on the same has to be submitted in three months.
Congress legislator Nana Patole raised the issue of phone tapping in the state assembly on July 6, claiming that his “phone was tapped by the previous government by giving a dummy name — Amjad Khan” around 2016-17. Patole said, “It was done on the grounds of narcotics smuggling. Who gave the order to tap my phone needs to be investigated?”
“Phones of other public representatives were also tapped. Such acts are alarming for all. It is an attempt to destroy the public life of public representatives. Democracy is in danger…If legislators are being threatened in the Assembly, they will face the same fate which Anil Deshmukh and Chhagan Bhujbal are facing,” he added.
Pawar confirmed that Patole’s allegations of a phone tapping carries “fact”, and it was done under a false name. “There is a fact in Nana Patole’s complaint about phone tapping. Phone taping of political leaders and public representatives was done by giving false names. It has happened in Nana Patole’s case too. Home minister has announced a high-level committee to enquire,” the National Congress Party (NCP) leader said.