NEW DELHI: Government of India is serious on Phone Tapping. The Home Ministry has ordered a probe into an alleged phone tapping scandal which targeted top government officials and industrialists between 2001 and 2006 after a complaint to the Prime Minister’s Office.
It was reported on Friday in some news paper that corporate conglomerate Essar Group had allegedly tapped phones of several cabinet ministers, business chiefs Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani and many bureaucrats over five years. According to the report, the purported conversations that were recorded reveal “widespread peddling of influence in corridors of power, ‘corruption in the business milieu,’ brokering of deals and blurring of lines between business and government”.
According to the report, a Supreme Court lawyer Suren Uppal has submitted a complaint to the Prime Minister’s Office claiming to represent a former Essar employee Albasit Khan who allegedly carried out the phone taps.
The Home Ministry has said a probe into the scandal was set up 10 days ago and it will share the report with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office once it is completed.
The Essar Group has denied the charges and said they are a victim of an extortion attempt. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited has said it is “shocked” by the reports.
The scandal has also triggered a political row with several Opposition parties turning up the heat on the government.
The Congress has called for a “thorough probe” into the scandal, which spanned one term of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and one united Progressive Alliance (UPA) government which it steered.
“What it points to is the institutional manner in which NDA was functioning: If media reports are true, the entire NDA government was completely and absolutely compromised,” party spokesman Manish Tewari said.