Shimla, July 26 (IANS) Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Friday said that no erring government functionary would be spared if found involved in mass phone tapping, a day after the opposition BJP attacked him for "influencing" the ongoing probe into the case.
"Whosoever is responsible for granting permissions for phone tapping without following the due process or on whose directions this act was carried out, be it the home minister or home secretary or police officials, nobody will be spared," Virbhadra Singh told reporters here.
"We are not in a hurry. We have not given clean chit to anybody. Law will take its own course," he added.
BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt Thursday said the chief minister was trying to influence the phone tapping inquiry being conducted by the vigilance bureau.
"When the chief minister himself holds the home portfolio, how could the probe be impartial and independent?" he asked.
Reacting to the BJP's allegations, a government statement said the action taken in the phone tapping case has been strictly in accordance with the law. "The allegations being made are false and an attempt to subvert the due process of law," it said.
The government clarified that the hard discs from the offices of the crime investigation department (CID), the vigilance and anti-corruption bureaus were seized strictly in accordance with law.
"These were seized to ascertain whether telephone interceptions were carried out in accordance with the Indian Telegraph Act or not," it said.
The hard discs, it said, were sent for analysis by a team of state forensic science laboratory in Junga near the state capital Shimla, which was constituted by the government.
The Congress government accused the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led previous government of tapping certain telephone numbers illegally through the state criminal investigation and vigilance departments.
Dhumal, who then also held home portfolio, however, refuted the charges.
The total number of phones tapped, mainly of Congress leaders, government functionaries and journalists in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act, was over 1,300, officials said.
Of these, the home department had granted permission to tap only 170 phones, they said.
Earlier, the chief minister had accused the previous government of tapping his phones and bugging his rooms.
"While Dhumal was the chief minister, he was helped by then director general of police D.S. Manhas, his successor I.D. Bhandari and some other police officials," the chief minister has alleged.
Bhandari, who was heading the CID when the illegal phone tapping took place, was removed in February.