Indian govt ordered phone-tapping
Sat, May 01, 2010

NEW DELHI - A national news magazine said Saturday the Indian government illegally tapped the phones of officials, politicians and their wives despite denying such claims in parliament last week.

Outlook magazine said intelligence officers intercepted phone conversations mostly on verbal orders from their bosses.

Telephone tapping in India requires prior written authorisation from the country's home secretary.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram earlier in the week promised to probe the allegations but denied to parliament that his Congress party-led government was involved.

Outlook on Saturday quoted unnamed intelligence officials as saying details of the clandestine operations were available in "top secret" logbooks.

The weekly magazine had earlier reported that the phones of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Marxist leader Prakash Karat and Bihar state chief minister Nitish Kumar had been tapped.

"Once the logbooks are examined by a joint parliamentary (probe) committee and matched with the depositions who signed it... it will prove beyond doubt that illegal tapping took place," the magazine quoted one unnamed intelligence official as saying.

"The machine(s) intercepted calls of wives of MPs discussing personal and sensitive matters," the official said, warning the recorded material exposed people to blackmail.

"These are random sweeps, which record calls with impunity," the official said, and described the alleged tapping as "completely illegal and dangerous."

India began importing the phone tappers in 2005 to tackle infiltration by Islamic militants into Indian Kashmir from Pakistan, according to Outlook.

The opposition says the reports recalled the time when then Congress premier Indira Gandhi imposed a state of emergency in India in 1975, censoring the press and jailing hundreds of politicians.

Bookmark and Share
  Indian govt ordered phone-tapping
  Indonesian marchers demand better social security
  Suicide blast in Pakistan's Swat kills 3
  US warns of possible militant attacks in Delhi
  Cambodian workers mark international labour day
  China sets up task force after wave of school attacks: media
  Civil war possible in Thailand
  Taiwan vegetable seller in Time magazine's most influential list
  Thai protesters criticise hospital evacuation
  Indonesian marchers demand better social security