Modi governs our country, not by pretence; hence he actually need not spy on anyone. He should focus on the best governance to improve voters’ lives. In simple words, 140 crore Indians are peeping constantly on the Modi government, even as Modi and Amit Shah are spending 500–1000 crores of taxpayers’ money to pay for Pegasus spyware to snoop on the people of India, and the opposition leaders, and even the BJP ministers of Modi government. In Maharashtra, the scenario is much more critical. BJP in opposition still can’t digest they are not in power and know only to oppose. They will cook up some story with their slave media help right at the time of every parliamentary session, wasting valuable time and public tax money every time.
Today the Mumbai police made a shocking revelation that the phones of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and NCP leader Eknath Khadse were tapped on the pretext of them being anti-social elements. What made BJP assume them as an anti-social element? If Sanjay Raut is anti-social why BJP was in alliance with Shiv Sena? Eknath Khadse was one of the tallest leaders of BJP Maharashtra then. Spying on such leaders for political motives is a really bad idea.
The opposition party in Maharashtra continues to exploit democratic freedom for their own gain, not for the benefit of the citizens who elect them. Will this spying scam allegedly by the BJP government make any effect on the coming state elections in 2024 or BMC elections this year? They will drift away. This may surely dent the BJPs image and some votes from the party. More people are taking an active part in politics and social media. As a result, the relationship between government and society is changing fast and people are more aware of what the government is doing and how the opposition is behaving. Every action of the government is closely watched and monitored. Maha Vikas Aghadi never failed to perform. Mumbai’s beautification is at its peak. They take care of water meter and gutter problems. Economically, Maharashtra is stronger than BJP ruled states.
BJP being in power, shouldn’t have spied on their alliance leaders. The ruling legislators raised the issue in the Assembly after Nana Patole, state Congress chief and legislator, informed them that they tapped his phone during the Fadnavis government. He said that this was done with other elected representatives as well. In 2016-17, the previous government tapped his phone by giving a dummy named — Amjad Khan. They did it on the grounds of narcotics smuggling. Who gave the order to tap his phone needs to be probed. Phones of other public representatives were also tapped.
In March 2021, Fadnavis exposed that several IPS officers were lobbying for posting for money. Fadnavis said that he has 6.3 GB of data of call records obtained from phone tapping allegedly conducted by the then State Intelligence Department (SID) commissioner Rashmi Shukla in which they discussed the names of several key police officers. Asserting that corruption was taking place on a large scale in police transfers in Maharashtra, Fadnavis read out a report publicly that Shukla had written to former DGP Subhodh Jaiswal.
The then DGP forwarded the report to the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sitaram Kunte for action. Following this, the government instructed Kunte to inquire into the incident, who then in his report, alleged that Shukla deliberately misled the government to tap phones. Kunte’s report noted, “Seems prima facie … a copy from Shukla’s office. It is suspected that she may have leaked (it). It leaked the matter although the letter was top-secret and it is a serious matter. If the suspicion is proved, she will be subject to severe action.
A case was registered under the Official Secrets Act and Telegraph Act at the BKC cyber cell on March 26, 2021, against five unknown persons. Since then the crime branch is trying to identify the person who leaked it. The Mumbai crime branch has so far recorded the statement of 25 people linked to the case. The statement of Shukla was also recorded in May 2021, after a team from the cyber cell was sent to Hyderabad, where she is currently posted as Additional Director General of Police at the Central Reserve Police Force.
The BJP in the centre used Pegasus spyware. Media reports said Modi’s main rival, former Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, was among dozens of Indian politicians, activists and government critics identified as potential targets of the Pegasus spyware. Judiciary, cabinet ministers, journalists and other activities were spied on through a foreign entity’s spyware, not treason and an inexcusable dismantling of national security. Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International had access to a list of tens of thousands of phone numbers worldwide that were potentially targeted by Pegasus spyware and shared it with media organisations from different countries.
Among the Indians whose phones they had targeted with the NSO-owned spyware was Ashok Lavasa, the former election commissioner of India, who had faulted Modi for violations of the model code of conduct before the 2019 election. BJP in the centre and then in the state were trying to enforce “surveillance raj”. The Modi Government is the deplorer and executor of this illegal snooping. Then the BJP government, before the polls, tried to gather information about what and with whom these (NCP-Congress) leaders were talking. BJP leader had informed Sanjay Raut that his phone was being tapped by the Fadnavis government, in which his party was an ally. The BJP’s agenda was to secure limitless and unconcealed power – the government should immediately conduct an inquiry and make the report public.