(Photo: iStock)
(Photo: iStock)

Karnataka phone tapping scandal gets murkier after submission of interim report

  • BJP leader R. Ashok alleged that the Kumaraswamy govt approved illegal phone tapping to pry on the opposition, journalists and police officials among others
  • The probe into the illegal tapping was commissioned on 8 Aug after the phone call of Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao was made public

Bengaluru: Former Karnataka home minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader R. Ashok, on Wednesday, alleged that the previous Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) coalition government approved illegal phone tapping to pry on the opposition, journalists and police officials among others.

“I had complained about the phone tappings about six months ago and the then government had denied these claims," Ashok said in Bengaluru.

“But the report now proves that phone tapping was done," he said, requesting chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa to probe the case. The BJP leader’s comments come a day after an interim report on allegations of phone tapping was submitted to the state police chief.

The allegations of illegal phone tapping stirring up a storm in the state that has witnessed one political crisis after another in the last one year and leading to the collapse of the H. D. Kumaraswamy led coalition government last month.

The New Indian Express first wrote about the purported contents of the report on Wednesday.

“I have submitted an interim report to our DGP. The DGP has to take further action," a senior police official told Mint, requesting not to be named. The police official refused to divulge the contents of the report. Another senior police official declined to comment.

The probe into the illegal tapping was commissioned on 8 August after the phone call of the newly appointed Bengaluru police commissioner, Bhaskar Rao, was made public. In the call, the person purported to be Rao is heard lobbying for the post of Bengaluru police commissioner with Faraz, a person who claims to be close to senior Congress leaders.

Rao took over as commissioner on 2 August, replacing Alok Kumar who had served in the post for just over a month.

Soon after assuming office, Yeddyurappa approved tens of top level transfers that included the decision to replace Kumar, who was appointed by the previous government.

“I am taking note of the developments and will take appropriate actions after discussing it with the chief secretary," Yediyurappa said on Wednesday.

Former JD(S) state chief and disqualified former legislator, A. H. Vishwanath also said asked the chief minister to conduct a detailed probe into the allegations.

“We need to find out who were given directions by the previous government, who gave these directions and why?" Vishwanath said.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy in a tweet posted in Kannada said that he found no need to tap phones to remain in power and that the allegations against him were far from the truth.

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