Illegal or unauthorized telephone tapping is often a criminal offense. However, in certain jurisdictions such as Germany, courts will accept illegally recorded phone calls without the other party's consent as evidence, but the unauthorized telephone tapping will be prosecuted also.
It is a matter of record that Ramakrishna Hegde, Chief Minster of Kolkatta had resigned from the post taking moral responsibility for the tapping of the telephones of prominent politicians in the state.
BJP and JD(U) has demanded that the government should come out clearly on the controversy over alleged tapping of phones of prominent MPs belonging to Opposition parties.
While the BJP has rejected the government's explanation of how and why a Delhi constable and a group of private detectives tried to access the cell-phone records of Arun Jaitley, one of the party's most senior leaders, the Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde has come with a version that this case is an attempt of the unauthorized to access call data record, and it is not a case of telephone tapping.
The Delhi Police constable Arvind Dabas arrested doing tapping was on one leave for the last six months and using the ID of an ACP, ignoring the guidelines of the Supreme Court on tapping. Thirty two-year-old Dabas, who was arrested on February 14, has been booked for criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code and also under section 66 of Information and Technology Act (for hacking the computer). The counsel also claimed that police have not recovered any incriminating material connecting him to the case. All the three accused - Constable Arvind Dabas, Neeraj and Nitish - are already in judicial custody.
In fact, the proper technology available for the purpose can be imported with the permission of the government and how the instruments were being used by the outsiders. The matter of serious intelligence could not be possible without the backing of the ruling government.
What does this give the indication when at the start of the month, three detectives were arrested earlier this month and the police admitted in court that there were signs of "a larger conspiracy" to get mobile records for at least 12 politicians.
It has also been denied by the BJP that a faction within the party had hired the gang to spy on Mr Jaitley. "This is a government of spies like James Bond and when any government functions in a mafia style then the people of this country does not forgive it. This is a serious crime," said BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. The BJP Vice-President, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has even said to this extent that if the government spends even 50 per cent of the energy it is wasting on spying on India's security, and combating terrorism and naxalism, then the country would have benefited and the government would clean some of the taint of failure.
Now, the question as to who is tapping these phones and who is getting them tapped. More worrisome is that the machine used for tapping these phones have been brought to the country in big numbers and it is very easy to tap the phones.
In December 2010, Manmohan Singh, the PM broke his silence on the Radia tapes controversy, which surfaced as a fllout of the 2G scam has said that government needs tapping powers for more effective enforcement and there was a need to look fo solutions through technology to prevent access of telephone conversation to systems outside the institutional framework of government.
Tapping of phones of MPs is a serious issue. The Government should get the entire incident investigated and take tough actions to stop such incidents from happening in future. Various technical processes and other procedures also need to be tightened so that the demands of the individual’s right to privacy on the one hand and the investigating agency’s need to probe suspicious activities, on the other, are balanced.
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