Millennium Post

SIT to dig up Pranab’s 2010 bugging episode?

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the corporate espionage case pertaining to the leak of confidential government documents from the Union coal, power and petroleum ministries, is likely to revisit the claims made by President Pranab Mukherjee in 2010 — that of his offices being bugged. Mukherjee was then holding the Finance portfolio in the Manmohan Singh government.

Sources revealed that in his complaint lodged in September 2010, Mukherjee had alleged that his office was bugged. He addressed a complaint letter to the Prime Minister after he observed an adhesive sticking on the wall of his office. In the letter, he mentioned that an adhesive-like substance had been recovered from his office, which may have been used to stick electronic devices. The government then had unfortunately dismissed the matter, brushing it off as ‘bubble gums’ stuck on the wall.

Based on his allegations, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) was asked to investigate the case, instead of the Intelligence Bureau, which ordinarily probes such matters. The current round of arrests have been made on the inputs from the IB. Criticism was faced by the former government on the choice of the investigation agency. However, in its report, the CBDT had concluded that the suspicious item was nothing but a bubble gum on the wall. “There was no attempt made to bug the office of the Finance Minister and what had been found on the wall was a bubble gum and not an adhesive to plant a bug,” the report had said.

Now, with the corporate espionage case coming into public domain, the SIT is likely to re-open and re-examine Mukherjee’s complaint. “Accessing highly classified documents and other sensitive information from the Finance Ministry has always lured the corporate houses,” a senior police official said.
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