CBI Conducts Searches at Ex-Bengaluru Top Cop's Residence in Phone Tapping Case
The Karnataka government had announced a CBI probe after disqualified JD(S) MLA AH Vishwanath, who served as the party's state president and turned rebel, accused the HD Kumaraswamy dispensation of tapping phones of over 300 people.
File photo of CBI headquarters in New Delhi. (PTI)
Bengaluru:A team of 20 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials on Thursday conducted a raid at the residence of former Bengaluru Police Commissioner Alok Kumar in connection with alleged phone tapping of politicians and bureaucrats during the tenure of the Congress-JD(S) government, officials said Thursday.
The Karnataka government led by BS Yediyurappa had announced a CBI probe after disqualified JD(S) MLA AH Vishwanath, who served as the party's state president and turned rebel, accused the HD Kumaraswamy dispensation of tapping phones and spying on more than 300 people, including him.
According to the FIR filed, upon the instruction of the former Kumar, phones of politicians were tapped legally, but the interception details were downloaded and published unlawfully.
The central agency has taken over the investigation in the matter from cyber-crime wing of the Bengaluru Police and registered a case against unidentified people in August, officials said.
"It has come to the notice of the government that there are apprehensions that phones of several ruling and opposition political leaders, their relatives, and other government officials have been intercepted in an illegal unauthorised unwarranted manner," the letter entrusting the probe to the CBI said.
It is also suspected that Kumar, along with a few other officers of CCB and its technical wing intercepted phone calls of over 900 numbers, downloaded them from the server and gave the copy to Kumaraswamy when multiple defections put his government in jeopardy.
The issue came to light when a conversation between the incumbent Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao and one Faraz Ahmed was leaked. According to CCB inspectors SK Malatesh and Mirza Ali Rza, the downloaded audio was put in a pen drive and handed over to Kumar in his office at 2 pm on August 2.
Bhaskar Rao filed a plaint with Director General and Inspector General of Police, Neelmani N Raju, seeking an inquiry into the tapping his phone. Later, an inquiry report was submitted by Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of police, CCB. A preliminary inquiry on the particular audio tape led to an FIR, which has been transferred to the CBI now.
Reacting to the development, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he is not worried as he has no connection with the matter. "Let them raid whoever they want to. Why are you asking me? How am I connected to it?" Kumaraswamy told reporters in reaction to the raids on Kumar. When it was pointed out that the searches pertained to phone tapping during his tenure as chief minister, Kumaraswamy said, "Everybody does it during their tenure. If they investigate how the phone tapping happened in the past, then why should I be worried about it?"
Kumaraswamy said he has no reason to get worried because he has no connection with the matter. To a question that the CBI may question him, the JDS leader said "Let them come. As per the law of the land, anyone can be questioned and investigated. Why should I panic?"
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