“Audio tapes reveal the illegal surveillance of a young woman from Bangalore in 2009 ordered by [Modi aide] Amit Shah for his ‘Saheb’. The police followed her inside malls, restaurants, gyms, even when she visited relatives, went to see her mother at a hospital, took a flight or checked into a hotel,” the Cobrapost and Gulail websites said.
They said that G.L. Singhal, an Indian Police Service officer, accused in the Ishrat Jahan ecounter death of 2004, handed over hundreds of audio recordings to the Central Bureau of Investigation detailing the illegal surveillance maintained on the woman.
After the snooping allegations were made at a press conference at the Press Club in Delhi Friday, a gentleman claiming to be the lady’s father, Pranlal Soni, said the family had long-standing relations with Modi and had asked the Chief Minister to “take care” of her.
The father’s statement confirmed the identity of “saheb” as none other than Narendra Modi. Till the statement came out, the identity of “saheb” could only be speculated upon, but Soni’s statement pointed directly to Chief Minister Modi.
The assertion appeared to be a desperate attempt by the BJP to salvage the reputation of Modi, projected by the party as a squeaky clean man who can do no wrong.
Whatever be the nature of his relationship with the woman he put under surveillance, one thing is clear – given the fact that she’s not an accused or wanted in any case, the snooping was totally illegal.
Listen to the audio tapes and it’s clear that the then Minister of State for Home in Gujarat Amit Shah was desperate to keep tabs on the woman’s every move
A minute-to-minute account of where she went and who she met was being maintained and conveyed by the policemen who, too, were party to the alleged illegality of the snooping operation.
And, here’s another twist.
One of the persons mentioned in the tapes is Pradeep Sharma, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, also acquainted with the woman, who was put under strict phone and physical watch by the police.
Sharma alleged in a petition filed before the Supreme Court that Modi had targeted him as he was the brother of a senior Gujarat police officer who had made the mistake of not following Modi and Amit Shah’s instructions.
With #Saheb trending on Twitter and the print media covering the revelations, the embarrassment to Modi and the BJP continued as this blog was written Sunday.
“The Gujarat Government must take immediate action against [Amit] Shah and the police officers for violating the Indian Telegraph Act. They also have to be prosecuted for the crime of stalking under the recently amended provisions of the IPC related to crimes against women,” the CPI (M) said in a statement.
“However it is well known that for Amit Shah there is only one Saheb and that is Modi. What was Modi’s interest in the matter? In a case involving the Chief Minister it would be appropriate for a court investigation into Modi’s involvement and if found to be involved, he must be prosecuted,” the party release added.
It’s possible that the allegations against him will not stick and the Chief Minister will go about his business as usual.
But there’s little doubt that the latest revelations show that Modi, under whose watch Gujarat witnessed horrible communal killings and encounter deaths, is not fit to lead the Indian Republic.
All the evidence points in one direction – Mr. Modi and his associates have abused their office and powers.
India can do without the replication of his “Gujarat model” elsewhere in the country.