Congress alleges phone tapping of leaders by BJP in Goa

Congress Party in Goa on Thursday accused Pramod Sawant-led BJP government in the state of snooping on its senior leaders by illegally tapping their phones through private agency hired for the purpose

Representative image
Representative image

Aditya Anand

The Congress Party in Goa on Thursday accused the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government in the state of snooping on its senior leaders by illegally tapping their phones through a private agency hired for the purpose.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar said that phones of Leader of Opposition and Former chief minister, Digambar Kamat, former Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, and Chodankar himself were among those that had been tapped. “We have confirmed information that all our phones are being tapped and listened to by the BJP. I got my phone examined by a technically qualified expert who confirmed the same,” Chodankar said.

The GPCC president sought to know from the chief minister Pramod Sawant if the tapping had the state government sanction and if so the names of the persons whose phones had been put on scrutiny. “The right to privacy is our fundamental right and this right is being violated through this tapping. The government has no right to do this,” he said. Chodankar warned government officials involved in the tapping of legal action against them and asked them to immediately put an end to the snooping and fall to the pressures of the government.

The state Congress chief noted that similar tapping of phones of Congress leaders was done in neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra previously. “This is an interference of the government into our private lives and is unacceptable,” he said. Chodankar said that post-March 10 when the results will be declared, a people’s government will come into being.

“I want to tell the BJP leadership openly that we have been talking to all like-minded parties and their leaders for support. We are also in touch with independent MLAs. And there are also some BJP leaders who are talking to us because they have realised that the party is not returning to power in Goa. Some BJP leaders who can’t stay away from power are also trying to establish contact with us,” Chodankar said.

The GPCC president claimed that the BJP had lost trust among the people of the state and after making use of anti-social elements facing various criminal charges in the elections was now trying to use them in forming an illegal government by building pressure on candidates expected to win. “I want to warn the Chief Secretary, Collectors, DG Police, and other officials against falling prey to the government’s pressures. This government has begun using manipulative tactics to form a government even after it fails to garner the mandate,” he said.

Former chief minister Digambar Kamat spoke on the issue of phone tapping calling it a serious issue. “We have seen how it was done in Maharashtra and how complaints have been filed against senior government officials. I urge the officials in Goa to not fall prey to this and keep away from tapping the phones of Congress leaders. I will be meeting the DGP in regard to the issue of phone tapping,” he said.

Former Calangute MLA and Congress leader Michael Lobo told media persons the next government in Goa was set to be a Congress one. “There are numerous rumours floating around but the truth is that all Congress MLAs will remain united to provide a people’s government. By 5 p.m. on March 5, the Congress party will have approached the Governor with a list proving the numbers,” Lobo said. He also expressed confidence that Sudin and Deepak Dhavlikar of the MGP and its future MLAs would not side with the BJP since the party had been betrayed several times in the past.

Commenting on the issue of the panchayat polls that are scheduled for June, Kamat pointed to the outgoing government moving at a fast pace to carry out a delimitation exercise. “The speed at which the government is proceeding with the delimitation process is not all right. Every single panchayat has raised objections to this exercise. Ward numbers are being changed to suit the BJP. I warn the State Election Commission to be aware of this and not overlook the sentiments of the people,” Kamat said.

The Leader of Opposition urged the authorities to postpone the dates of carrying out the process to a time when the new government will be in office. “Just a week before the declaration of assembly results, the delimitation for the panchayat polls is underway with March 4 being the last day for suggestions and objections. How is it even proper to do it in this manner,” he asked, demanding that the process be stalled. Kamat also sought clarity on the process being carried out with regard to the panchayat polls.

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