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RS panel to revisit report on accessing of Jaitley's call data

New Delhi: The Privileges Committee of Rajya Sabha will revisit its report which said that unauthorised access of call data records of Arun Jaitley in 2013 was not a breach of privilege and consider enlarging
rs panel to revisit report on accessing of...
PTI May 07, 2015 13:45 IST

New Delhi: The Privileges Committee of Rajya Sabha will revisit its report which said that unauthorised access of call data records of Arun Jaitley in 2013 was not a breach of privilege and consider enlarging its scope to include phone-tapping of MPs.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who heads the Committee, said he would go by the sense of the House which has sought a review of the committee report.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said the entire House had in 2013 expressed concern over then Leader of the Opposition Jaitley's call data records (CDRs) being accessed unauthorisedly.

However, the panel was of the opinion that the act of accessing CDRs in an unauthorised manner, though sinister and punishable in the eyes of the law, "does not seem to cause any hindrance of obstruction in the functioning of a Member of Parliament so as to attract breach of his Parliamentary privileges."

Agrawal said going by the report, anybody can access details of any MP.

Anand Sharma (Congress) alleged that there was rampant phone tapping and surveillance on political leaders, prominent persons, senior judiciary and senior civil servants.

When the Committee was seized of the issue of Jaitley's call records being accessed unauthorisedly, two ministers in the NDA government complained of phone tapping, he said.

The Home Minister, he said, had stated that the government had not authorised such tappings.

"We want to know from the Prime Minister which agency is doing it," he said, adding there was an atmosphere of distrust, fear and suspicion and India may soon be converted into a police state.

He demanded an inquiry into the entire issue by a sitting Supreme Court Judge.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said if the Committee reviews its report "that will be better."

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the panel's scope should be enlared to include the overall issue of phone tapping and the House should accept it. Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) too favoured enlarging the scope of the panel to include phone tapping and not just revisiting the report.

Kurien said the panel's report was before the House and the House is supreme. The House can decide to discuss, accept or reject the report.

He said he had no problems about revisiting the report and will come back to the House on the procedure of doing so.

"I am accepting the suggestions (of revising the report)... there is no prestige issue," he said.

On the issue of enlarging the scope, Kurien said the Chair will examine it and come back to the House.

K C Tyagi (JD-U) said the Committee did not believe that the previous UPA government had any hand in accessing the call data records of Jaitley, now the Finance Minister.

He said the Committee had called Home Secretary and Delhi Police Commissioner as witnesses, who stated that Jaitley's call records were accessed by a private detective and the government had no role in it.

 

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