Complaint of Vigilance Director about phone tapping will be probed: CM

CM Pinarai Vijayan responding to Adjournment motion on MondayThiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan told the Assembly on Monday that the crime branch would enquire into the complaint of Director of Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau Jacob Thomas that his phone and email had been intercepted.

Responding to notice for an adjournment motion given by Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (Congress), the Chief Minister said that Director General of Police was the appropriate authority to conduct the enquiry whether interception was done by police or those outside the force.  Mr. Thomas’ compliant was based on a press report.

Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, however, said that it was a serious matter which should be discussed by the House. He also led a walkout of UDF members in protest against the adjournment motion being disallowed. Kerala Congress (M) joined the walkout.

The Opposition Leader said that the Director would not have made a complaint if it was just a press report. He did not trust the Home Department. It was notable that the allegations of interception of emails and phone surfaced only after Vigilance enquiries extended to leaders of ruling Front also. As none had facilities for off-the-air interception except RAW, the police would have been involved.

Mr. Chennithala said that power struggles and infighting were rampant in police force. That had affected its functioning.

The Chief Minister said that difference within the police that existed during UDF rule was not there now.  The Home Secretary had not given any permission to tap the phone of the Vigilance Director.

He said that the government caused no difficulties to the functioning of the Vigilance Director. However, those affected by the vigilance investigations might be causing hindrance.

Mr. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that a conspiracy should have taken place if the Vigilance Director’s phone had been tapped. Investigation into that could be conducted by a Central agency only as the BSNL’s records and server would have to be examined.

Joining the walkout, M. K. Muneer, Muslim League, said that the Director General of Police himself had stated that the complaint was of a serious nature. The phone tapping, if the allegation was true, could only have happened with the knowledge of higher-ups.