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Maharashtra ‘Phone Tapping’ Row Hots Up; Devendra Fadnavis Rejects Charge

Mumbai: A political slugfest broke out in Maharashtra over House Minister Anil Deshmukh’s allegation that telephones of Congress-NCP leaders had been tapped by the earlier BJP regime throughout 2019 Lok Sabha and Meeting polls as ex-chief minister Devendra Fadnavis stoutly rejected the cost on Friday.

A day after Deshmukh made the sensational declare and ordered a probe, Fadnavis, the then chief minister who additionally held the house portfolio, asserted telephone tapping was not the tradition of the state and his authorities had not given any such orders.

Fadnavis identified {that a} Shiv Sena chief was the Minister of State for House throughout his tenure.

The Congress, a key constituent of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) authorities, joined the NCP in attacking the BJP and demanded a high-level inquiry into the complete episode.

“The previous BJP-led government had tapped phones of senior NCP and Congress leaders through government mechanism ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls held last year,” Deshmukh alleged.

He mentioned there are additionally allegations that the then authorities had despatched some officers to Israel and introduced software program to “intercept” telephones of leaders of the Congress and the NCP, which had been then in opposition.

Deshmukh didn’t title the NCP and Congress leaders whose telephones the Devendra Fadnavis-led authorities had allegedly tapped.

“They had stooped low in politics. We have initiated probe into it,” the NCP minister mentioned.

Talking with the media in Bhandara district in Vidarbha on Friday, Deshmukh reiterated the phone-tapping allegations in opposition to the BJP-led authorities.

“The BJP government, before the polls, tried to gather information about what and with whom these (NCP-Congress) leaders were talking to,” he mentioned.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday mentioned a BJP chief had knowledgeable him that his telephone was being tapped by the Fadnavis authorities, through which his get together was an ally.

“A BJP leader had told me that my phone was being tapped. I said if anybody wants to listen to what I am saying I welcome it. I am Balasaheb’s ‘chela’ (disciple), whatever I do, I do it openly,” Raut instructed reporters right here.

“In spite of the phone-tapping, we formed the government in Maharashtra,” he mentioned.

The Sena shaped authorities with the Congress and the NCP in November final yr after snapping its alliance with the BJP.

On Thursday, Deshmukh had alleged the Fadnavis dispensation misused authorities equipment to faucet the telephones of opposition leaders, particularly throughout the formation of the MVA authorities in November.

“The cyber cell of the Maharashtra police has been asked to look into the various complaints of snooping/phone tapping that came in during the previous government,” Deshmukh had mentioned.

Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad, an NCP chief, on Friday mentioned the telephone tapping episode smacks of “sick mentality” of the BJP and added it needs to be probed as to why the earlier authorities did so.

“I solely had levelled the allegations. Why you need to poke into the individuals’s personal life? There are political and ideological variations between us, however not private.

Maharashtra ought to know who’s behind this,” he added.

PWD minister and Congress chief Ashok Chavan alleged the BJP may stoop to any stage to get energy. He demanded a high-level inquiry into the telephone tapping allegations.

“The allegations of tapping of telephones of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena leaders throughout the Fadnavis regime had been critical.

The Chief Minister ought to order a excessive stage probe into the allegations,” Chavan mentioned.

The BJP’s agenda was to safe limitless and unbridled energy, the Congress chief alleged.

Unperturbed by the allegations, Fadnavis mentioned the MVA authorities was free to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

“Phone-tapping is not the culture of Maharashtra. My government had not given any such orders,” Fadnavis, now the Chief of Opposition within the Meeting, mentioned in a press release.

“The whole country knows the credibility of those who have levelled such allegations,” Fadnavis, who was the chief minister of the state between 2014 and 2019, mentioned.

“The state government is free to probe the allegations with the help of any machinery. People of Maharashtra know the truth. A Shiv Sena leader was the minister of state for home during my tenure,” he added.

“I have a request – the government should immediately conduct an inquiry and make the report public. If it wants to go to Israel for the probe, it should do that,” he mentioned.

(PTI)

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