Alleging that the ruling YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh was resorting to illegal tapping of phones to further its political gains, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that the Centre order an inquiry by a competent body to check the illegal acts.
He alleged that the YSRC party was illegally tapping phones of opposition parties, advocates, media persons and social activists. "It appears that the ruling YSRC party has now even targeted judiciary, the third pillar of the democracy, as it is facing hurdles from the judiciary," the TDP president alleged in the letter, a copy of which was also marked to Union Communications and Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad.
Alleging that some private persons were also illegally tapping phones using cutting-edge technology and tools, Chandrababu Naidu apprehended that if such illegal phone tapping went unchecked, it would "pose a serious threat to the integrity and security of the nation." He said the tapping was being done using "illegal software and unlawfully." "The people of AP are facing a grave threat under the rule of YSRCP. Ever since the YSRC came to power, there has been a systematic and concerted attack on the democratic institutions in the state. Initially, the process of governance was completely derailed by attacking the investors and policies of previous regimes. This was followed by attack on institutions like State Election Commission and Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC)," he said.
Concomitantly, the YSRCP has been attacking and threatening leaders of opposition parties, advocates, media persons, and social activists among others through various deceitful means, he alleged.
The Leader of Opposition claimed the state government has not followed any due procedure of law in tapping the phones of people from various walks of life. "Thus, it directly stands against Articles 19 and 21 of fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution,wherein right to privacy is violated.
Further, Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act and Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 are violated by this government as there is no reason to tap the phones of leaders of opposition parties, advocates, journalists and social activists," he contended. "The ruling party in its over enthusiasm to retain power at any cost is dangerously threatening and attacking any person or institution raising their voice against the mal-functioning of the Government," he said. Lawyers, journalists and social activists were not spared along with the leaders of the opposition parties, the former chief minister said.
In the long run, such nefarious activities would result in breakdown of democratic values and freedom of speech leading to jungle raj, the TDP chief added. He appealed to the Prime Minister to initiate immediate and stern action to check any further unlawful activities (phone tapping) by the ruling party and private persons in AP. It would be appropriate to order an inquiry by a competent body of the Government of India to check the illegal acts of phone tapping, he said.