Government turns heat on Modi in Snoopgate

In a move to embarrass the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Lok Sabha poll, the union cabinet has approved setting up of an Inquiry Commission to probe into the snooping on a woman in Gujarat allegedly at the behest of former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah on Thursday. Shah is a close aide of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and its speculated that he was carrying out his boss’ orders.

The probe commission has been set up under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, which will be headed by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge. The judge, whose name will be announced soon, will have to submit his or her report by March 2014. The commission will look into the ‘physical and electronic surveillance’ in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi ‘allegedly without authorisation’, an official statement said. Last month, two news portals Gulail and Cobra Post claimed that Shah ordered the illegal surveillance at the behest of one ‘sahib (Sir)’, widely believed to be Modi. The Gujarat government has already ordered a probe into the case.

Crying foul on the development, the BJP said the move was targeted at its prime ministerial candidate ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Senior party leader Arun Jaitley termed the inquiry as an ‘affront’ to the states. He said, ‘The cabinet decision will be challenged in the court as it violated the federal structure of the Constitution and hope that other chief ministers will oppose it too. This matter is legally liable for challenge and I am sure it will be legally challenged in courts.’

Jaitley said the Congress party has not learnt any lessons from the drubbing it got in the recent elections and was again playing dirty politics against Modi. ‘This (the cabinet decision) action is politically motivated,’ he said.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh congratulated the central government for the inquiry commission. He said, ‘It should have happened much earlier because there is open violation of Indian Telegraph Act and Information Technology Act in this’.
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