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Snooping and bugging: Five high profile cases

Sunday, 27 July 2014 - 8:18pm IST Updated: Sunday, 27 July 2014 - 9:05pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

Was Nitin Gadkari's house bugged? The reported recovery of listening devices from Union Minister Gadkari's house has set tongues wagging in political circles, with Congress suggesting that this shows there is lack of trust among the NDA leaders. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has demanded a probe into this matter. 

However, this is not the first time that news of political leaders being snooped upon by their adversaries has surfaced in the media. Let's look back at some similar controversies from the past. 

NSA snooped on top BJP leaders:

According to an expose by Wikileaks, America's top spy agency NSA snooped on activities of important BJP leaders on 2010. It was part of their global surveillance programme. Even the Indian government was snooped upon, but BJP was the only political party on the radar of NSA. The news broke this year shortly after Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister. BJP leaders deemed it as an effort to interfere with the country's democratic process. 

Yashwant Sinha's allegations: 

In September 2012, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha alleged that P Chidambaram had ordered to tap his phone. Singh said that Chidamabaram snooped on him as he had raised the issue of Aircel- Maxis deal. Sinha had accused Chidambaram of being involved in the Aircel- Maxis scam. 

AK Antony's office bugged: 

In February 2012, an officer of the military intelligence found a monitoring device in the office of then-Defence Minister AK Antony. A high level probe was initiated to look into the matter. It was the time when tension between government and army was at its peak in the last decade, Questions were raised when IB was asked to probe the matter.  

Rumours of India's Watergate:

In June 2011, there were reports that then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's office was bugged. No less than 16 adhesive-type gum sticks were found in different rooms of the Finance Ministry including three under Mukherjee's own table. Reportedly Pranab Mukherjee wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing his concern about “trust deficit” in the matter. However Mukherjee rejected all such rumours in public. BJP branded it as India's Watergate and demanded a probe into the matter. Rumour mills were abuzz about possible involvement of then Home Minister P Chidambaram in the matter. However with Pranab Mukherjee preferring to be mum on this issue, the controversy fizzled out soon. The adhesives were apparently chewing gum, claimed government sources!!

Snoopgate controversy
The controversy broke last year when allegations were leveled against the Gujarat government for illegally snooping on a young girl on behest of Amit Shah. It generated considerable political heat with Rahul Gandhi even going on to allege that Modi indulges in tapping phones of women in the state. 

UPA government decided to form a judicial commission inquiry to look into the matter of alleged snooping. However, the girl and  her family in question always maintained that they were grateful to the Gujarat government for providing security. 

The matter has been deemed as political controversy by the current government and  is most likely to be given a silent burial in the near future. 



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