Probe into mass phone tapping over: Himachal Police

Shimla, June 15 (IANS) The inquiry into the illegal mass tapping of phones of politicians and bureaucrats during the previous BJP regime in Himachal Pradesh is over and the investigating agency Saturday recommended registration of a criminal case, an official said here.

"The probe has been completed and a report has been submitted to the government for further action," Deputy Inspector General A.P.Singh, who headed the inquiry team, told reporters here.

Refusing to divulge details about the probe, he said: "It's now up to the government to report and take necessary action".

The government has accused Prem Kumar Dhumal-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to tap certain phone numbers unauthorisedly and illegally through the state CID and the vigilance department.

Dhumal, however, refuted the charges and said the government should conduct a probe through a sitting high court judge.

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, said officials.

Of these, the home department had granted permission to tap only 170 phones, they said.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had also 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 had alleged.

The computers in the CID and vigilance bureau offices were seized on the night of Dec 24-25, 2012, hours before Virbhadra Singh assumed charge as chief minister.

The chief minister has already said that action will be initiated against all those, including mobile phone companies, who were involved in the surveillance of phones.

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