Bengaluru, Aug 19: The Karnataka government on Monday issued an order entrusting the alleged phone tapping scandal during the previous Congress-JDS coalition government to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
This comes a day after Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he would order a CBI probe into the allegations citing demands by several Congress leaders, days after the charges of phone tapping during the previous Congress-JDS coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy surfaced.
According to the order, the government has accorded sanction to the CBI, under Sections of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 for, inquiry and investigation into all illegal/unauthorised/unwanted interceptions of telephones of political leaders belonging to the ruling party and opposition as well as their associates, relatives and also of government servants from August 1,2018 till date of this order.
It seeks investigation under relevant sections of the Indian Technology Act, 2000 and Indian Telegraph Act,1885;
Also, identification and investigation of persons involved in connection with alleged illegal/unauthorised/unwanted telephone interception of several ruling and opposition political leaders, their relatives and other government officials, it said.
Yediyurappa's announcement on Sunday came amid signs that the scandal was gaining political steam ever since disqualified JD(S) MLA A H Vishwanath, who served as the JD(S) state president and turned rebel later, last week dropped the political bomb, accusing the Kumarswamy government of tapping phones and spying on more than 300 peope, including him.
Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, M Mallikarjuna Kharge and home minister in the alliance government M B Patil, had sought a probe while another key party leader and former minister D K Shivakumar rejected the snooping charges and appeared to side with Kumaraswamy.
According to reports, phones of those close to Siddaramaiah, who was the then coalition coordination committee chief, too had come under the watch.
Several BJP leaders, including former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, have directly accused Kumaraswamy of being behind the episode to save his government which was then rocked by dissidence within.
The coalition government ultimately collapsed last month with Kumaraswamy losing the trust vote in the assembly, following which BJP under the leadership of Yediyurappa came to power on July 26.
Kumaraswamy has said he was not afraid of any probe and was ready for any investigation, by even an "international agency."
The snooping controversy surfaced as Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao earlier this month ordered an inquiry into the phone tapping incident against the backdrop of a recently leaked telephone conversation purportedly between him and someone in Delhi lobbying on his behalf with some politicians for the post he is occupying now.
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Bengaluru: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President, DK Shivakumar on Monday added that the Congress party was not against the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
In a tweet from the official twitter handle of Karnataka Congress, the State Congress President was quoted as saying that Sri Ram and Hinduism was part of the culture of India and was not limited to one political party.
He further added that the BJP has always politicized the issue by playing with the sentiments of the people and the Congress in not involved in such activities.