Maharashtra to probe Congress leader Nana Patole’s phone-tapping allegation

Earlier this year, Patole alleged phones of several NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena leaders, including his, along with IAS and IPS officers, were tapped in 2016-17 during the Devendra Fadnavis-led government.

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday announced a high-level inquiry into the allegation of Congress MLA and state party president Nana Patole that his phone was tapped during the previous BJP-led state government.

Earlier this year, Patole alleged that along with his phone, the phones of several important leaders of NCP, BJP, Shiv Sena as well as those of IAS and IPS officers were also tapped in 2016-17 during the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government. The Congress leader had demanded a high-level probe into the matter.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Walse Patil said the issue needs to be probed thoroughly. “A high-level inquiry will be conducted and action will be taken,” the minister said, adding a report on it will be tabled in the House during the next Legislature session.

He said police officials need to provide telephone numbers and reasons for surveillance while seeking permission for it from the additional chief secretary (Home).

State Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil sought to know how many legislators were under surveillance.

Patole asked on whose instructions was the phone-tapping done. The Congress MLA said his phone was tapped by police on the pretext that it belonged to one Amjad Khan, who was involved in narcotics trade.

“This is an attack on an individual’s freedom,” Patole said. “Why was my phone number linked to a Muslim name and a drug peddler. Didn’t the officials know I was an MP (at that time)?” he asked.

Patole quit the BJP in December 2017 when he was that party’s MP. He later returned to the Congress.

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