Long before the controversy over the use of state surveillance systems to put a 24 x 7 tail on a woman on the instructions of then Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah, a senior IPS officer had already sounded a warning on rampant use of illegal telephone tapping by police in the state.
A report in The Indian Express says then deputy commissioner of police (Intelligence) Rajnish Rai had written in April 2005 to the state home department seeking details of all telephone intercepts from six different service providers.
The letter by the IPS officer reportedly says, "...units like Anti-Terrorist Squad; Crime Branch, Ahmedabad; DCP, Zone-11, Ahmedabad; SP, Valsad; SP, Vadodara (Rural), etc. have resorted to telephone interception in flagrant disregard to rules/guidelines/provisions. It is shocking to know that officers of the rank of police inspectors and police sub-inspectors have also resorted to telephone tapping..."
Rules laid down by the Supreme Court and the Department of Telecommunications were being violated, he reportedly said.
Proposing a draft code for telephone tapping, Rai had made a mention in that letter of allegations of phone tapping targeting political rivals and said there was a need to ensure that telephone taps are not used in an "arbitrary, freakish or bizarre manner".
It was Rai who would later arrest IPS officers DG Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandian in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
Earlier reports have quoted other senior police officers from Gujarat admitting that the use of state surveillance systems to keep an eye on rivals was rampant during Amit Shah's stint as head of the home department.
This report in The Hindustan Times said the Gujarat Police, IB, ATS and the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch have all carried out massive illegal surveillance on people specified by their political bosses.
Gujarat's DGP Amitabh Pathak was reportedly shocked to learn that police officers had illegally obtained the Call Data Records (CDR) of 93,000 phone numbers since December 2012.
Last month, investigative portals Cobrapost and Gulail published an expose on illegal surveillance mounted on a woman architect in Gujarat, on the instructions of Shah at the behest of an unnamed 'Saheb'. The reports included telephone conversations from August 2009 in which Shah is heard discussing what appears to be details of snooping on the woman.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, another TV channel claimed to have conducted a sting operation revealing that a former Gujarat intelligence chief admitted to have ordered surveillance on Modi's arch-rival Sanjay Joshi, then a senior BJP leader.
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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2013 13:44:29 IST