Phone Tapping : SC Seeks Explanation From Chhattisgarh Govt On Alleged Snooping Of IPS Officer
Taking note of the incident of phone tapping of IPS officer Mukesh Gupta, the Supreme Court today issued notice to the Chattisgarh government and sought an explanation regarding taking such steps.
The bench pulled up the Chattisgarh government and expressed concern over the manner in which a citizen's right to privacy is being violated.
"What is happening in this country? Seems there is no privacy left", Justice Arun Mishra remarked while enquiring about who passed the order of phone tapping.
Appearing for Gupta, Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani argued vehemently against the breach of the IPS officer's privacy and also informed court that an FIR had been filed against lawyer Ravi Sharma who had appeared in the matter. The bench went on to stay the investigation against the lawyer.
The matter will now be taken up on Friday, November 8.
The bench also told senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing IPS officer Mukesh Gupta, not to politicise the issue by dragging the name of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in the matter.
The top court directed that the Chief Minister's name be struck off from the memo of parties in the petition.
In the petition, the IPS officer has arrayed the name of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister as one of the respondents.
Gupta is accused of unlawful phone tapping and in violation the provisions of Indian Telegraph Act during the investigation of civil supplies scam unearthed in 2015.
The court had on October 25 restrained the state government from interception of telephones of Gupta and his family and granted him protection from arrest in the cases lodged against him.
The top court had also told the state government that its earlier interim orders of stay on further investigation in two FIRs lodged against Gupta, will continue till further orders.
The top court had however refused to quash the FIRs against the 1988 batch IPS officer including one of FCRA violation by a trust running a eye hospital, founded by his father.
On February 9, this year, two IPS officers from Chhattisgarh, including Special DGP Mukesh Gupta, were suspended after the Economic Offences Wing of the police registered an FIR against them for alleged criminal conspiracy and illegal phone tapping during the Civil Supplies Corporation scam probe in 2015.
The officers, who was suspended is then Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Rajnesh Singh.
The case was lodged on the basis of the investigation carried by a Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the Congress government, to probe the alleged multi-crore civil supply scam unearthed during the previous BJP government.
Gupta and Singh were booked under sections 193 (false evidence), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 466 (forgery), 471 (Using as genuine a forged), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and other relevant sections of IPC and under provisions of Indian Telegraph Act.
However, Gupta had denied all charges and said that all actions in the investigation of scam were taken in accordance with law and with due permissions from competent authority.
The alleged scam was exposed in February 2015 when the ACB and the EOW conducted simultaneous raids at 25 premises of the Civil Supplies Corporation.
The incumbent Bhupesh Baghel government had on January 8 this year set up a 12-member SIT under Inspector General of Police, ACB and EOW, SRP Kalluri to probe the alleged multi-crore scam citing that some points, including political involvement, were left uncovered in the previous probe in the case.
Last week, the Bombay High Court had quashed the phone tapping orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs against a buisnesssman on the ground that there was no public emergency or public safety concern in the case.
(With PTI inputs)