Friday, March 4, 2011

Tapping of telephone lines: AIADMK MPs ask PM to order probe

Chennai: Days after raising in the Parliament the issue of alleged tapping of telephone lines of their party leader J Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK on Thursday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order a judicial probe into the issue and initiate action against police officials conducting surveillance of her residence.

"It is learnt from reliable sources that there have been incessant violations of human rights by the DMK government by tapping the telephonic conversation of our leader from her mobile phone and land lines at her residence," AIADMK MPs said in a memorandum submitted to Singh at New Delhi.

They alleged that this was being done by the state police under the instructions of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and that the police had placed mobile vans in and around her 'Poes Garden residence' to tap the calls in order to monitor her political activities and negotiations for Assembly polls.

This was being done for "enabling the rival DMK to plan their course of action", they alleged in the memorandum released here.

The Centre and the state government have to ensure an individual's right to privacy, which was a "part of the right to life and personal liberty enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," the said.
"Therefore the tapping of the telephone calls of our leader by making constant surveillance by police department is a serious invasion of her right to privacy," they said.

Holding that the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 enunciated circumstances under which telephone tapping can be done under the authorisation of the Union Home Secretary or the Home Secretary of the state, they wanted to know if the Centre or state had issued any orders in this regard.

"In view of the above, we request the Prime Minister to order a judicial probe into this issue as the DMK government has committed a serious violation of human rights.

We also request the Prime Minister to direct the Telecom Department to issue directions to the (state-run) BSNL and other private mobile operators not to tap the telephone calls of our leader."

They also requested the Prime Minister to initiate action against Tamil Nadu police officials who are conducting surveillance of our Jayalalithaa's residence and tapping phones supposedly under the provisions of law.

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