State govt to keep ‘regular tab’ on pvt detective agencies: Min

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Letters, Diary, Opinions, Feature Image, Placeholder, Afternoon VoiceThe Maharashtra government will issue directions to the Director General of Police to keep regular tab on private detective agencies to ensure they do not use illegal means to gather information, Minister of State for Home (Urban) Ranjit Patil said.

Patil was replying in the Legislative Council to a calling attention motion moved by Congress’ Anant Gadgil over the February 2 arrest of private detective Rajani Pandit in connection with the Call Detail Record (CDR) scam being investigated by the Thane police.

Gadgil said that as per the Telegraph Act, detective agencies were not allowed to tap calls or use bugging devices, adding that even police had to take permission from the state’s Home Secretary.

“I have brought (in the House) representational bugging devices that are easily available in the market. Using these, one can hear from a distance what two persons are speaking as the device deciphers their lip movements. Another device allows a person to hear talks in another room,” Gadgil said.

In response, Patil said that the issue fell in the ambit of the Centre and a law to to check detective agencies was envisaged in 2007 but could not be passed in Parliament.

He informed the House that the state would take robust steps through the police to ensure there was no violation of laws.

He conceded, in response to another query, that the CDRs were leaked from the police department and not call service providers.

“Thus new passwords to gain CDR records are being sent every week to the SP, in case of rural areas, and the Commissioner, in case of Urban areas, after this (Rajani Pandit) case,” Patil said.

Patil said that the state government would send its recommendations to the Centre as and when a bill to regulate detective agencies was taken up.

Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab asked if the state could enact a law to protect an individual’s Right to Privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution and end the illegal measures adopted by detective agencies to gather information.

Responding to him, Patil said existing laws of the Telegraph Act and Department of Telecommunications already made the use of illegal means to garner private information a non-bailable offence with punishment of 7 years.

“The government will direct the DGP to undertake drives to keep a tab on private detective agencies so that they do not indulge in illegal activities,” Patil said.