Government denies bugging at Nitin Gadkari’s home, Congress wants probe

New Delhi, July 28 : The government Monday denied bugging union minister Nitin Gadkari‘s residence, with the home ministry ruling out any probe. Gadkari issued a fresh denial over the issue, even as Congress leaders demanded an investigation. ”As already stated, I reiterate that no devices were found at my residence anywhere,” Gadkari tweeted. Asked about the bugging, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it was not a matter to be pursued.

“There is no contradiction, Gadkari has denied it himself,” Rajnath Singh said. “How can we intervene in this?” Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju refused to comment. ”The minister (Gadkari) himself has said the reports are speculative… How can we comment on it?” Rijiju said when asked if the home ministry would probe the bugging reports. ”There is nothing concrete in it,” he said.

Media reports Sunday said bugging devices were found at Gadkari’s Delhi residence  This was, however, denied by Gadkari and those close to him. Congress leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, said there should be a probe in the case. Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil questioned why Gadkari called the report “speculative” and not untrue.

“Gadkari said the reports are ‘highly speculative’. Why didn’t he dismiss the reports as untrue? He should have either said it happened or he should have said it did not happen,” Gohil told the media here. ”The constitution guarantees that one can live his life with privacy, and snooping people is not permitted under the law. There are reports that Gadkari was being spied upon needs to be investigated,” the Congress leader said. Manmohan Singh Sunday called for a probe saying: “If ministers’ houses are bugged, then it is not a good omen. It should be investigated.”

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, asked why Manmohan Singh was quiet when bugging was reported in then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s office. ”Why was Manmohan Singh quiet when there were reports of bugging of his ministers?” Naqvi asked. In 2011, at least 16 adhesive strips were found planted in the finance ministry, according to reports, and then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had expressed fear of snooping.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy questioned if the former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was responsible for the bugging. He said the bugging took place around October last year “when the UPA was in power, the NSA (America’s National Security Agency) has specifically targeted the BJP and Gadkari was a very important person. He had the confidence of the RSS”.

Congress leader Manish Tewari said: “If they (BJP) believe in this ridiculous trajectory of thought, they should put facts in public domain.”