Was Antony's office 'bugged'? Govt denies reports

Officials have denied reports that any 'bugs', electronic or otherwise, were found in the defence minister's office.

FP Staff March 02, 2012 20:19:57 IST

Was someone listening in on Defence Minister A K Antony?

PTI today reported that the Defence Ministry had ordered a probe by the Intelligence Bureau after they found 'bugging' or the presence of audio listening devices in Antony's office.

Was Antonys office bugged Govt denies reports

Defence Ministry officials denied reports that any 'bugs' were found in Antony's office. Reuters

The news agency reported that the incident of 'bugging' was found on 16 February following which Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma asked the Intelligence Bureau to probe the matter.

The matter was brought to notice by two Army personnel who were manning the telephone lines in the ministry, PTI reported.

After this was brought to notice, Ministry officials refused to get their phone lines checked by the Army
personnel, the report said.

However, Times Now said Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma had denied the presence of any 'bugs' in the Defence Minister's office.

Sharma said that they had carried out a routine check but nothing was found, the channel reported.

Times Now said that Army Chief VK Singh had said they constantly carried out routine weekly checks of the Defence Minister's office and home for listening devices and on one occasion found something unusual.

As a matter of procedure they army had informed the Defence Secretary who initiated the probe.

However, they later verified that there were no listening devices in the minister's office, the channel said.

The government also issued a press release denying the reports of ‘bugging’ in South Block.

"Routine checks are conducted in the offices of Raksha Mantri and other officers in South Block. Nothing has been found in these checks," the release stated.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Jawdekar said the reports of finding electronic surveillance devices in the Defence Minister’s office are a very serious matter.

“Is this a conspiracy by foreign governments? Is it a difference between party and government? The government must explain this,” Jawadekar told a press conference.

The BJP will raise the issue in the Parliament and ask the government to explain it, he said.

Last year, a similar incident was reported from the office of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee when snooping devices allegedly were found from there.

A inquiry was ordered by the Finance Ministry after adhesive-like substances were recovered from his office, raising suspicion that they might have been used to implant electronic listening devices.

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