Phone records of Jaitely: Delhi constable held for the crime

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Arun Jaitley
New Delhi, Feb 16: A police constable, who raised red flag when the police sought details of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley's phone call records, has been arrested. Constable Arvind Dabas, arrested today, claimed that he wanted the records for personal reasons. However, in stakes politics of India this may not look so simple.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar reacted sharply after the matter came to light. "We demand that the police constable come clean and tell us who ordered this. This is unauthorised tapping. We will raise the issue in Parliament. We are taking the matter seriously," Javadekar has said.

Dabbas used the login and password of an assistant commissioner of police to try and access the call details. However, Jaitley's call records were blocked after the request was sent. The mobile service provider alerted police after the email was sent them.

The incident happened on January 17 during the run up to the BJP presidential elections. Sources say Dabas was in touch with a broker from the Doon Valley. Dabas, who was on leave for five months, was posted in Special Staff of New Delhi district.

Rampant tapping

Early this month, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre on a PIL about phone tapping and and other forms of surveillance by Indian intelligence agencies and how they can "function without any statutory authority" .

The PIL by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) alleged that such surveillance is an intrusion and infringes on the citizens' fundamental right to liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The petition names three agencies, the IB, RAW and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which tap phones and electronic records of citizens and political leaders.

"The issue is of vital importance because the IB can tap any person's telephone or monitor their movements. These agencies do not function under any statutory authority or act. They merely function under executive orders," CPIL senior counsel Anil Divan told a bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil Dave and Vikramjit Sen.

The PIL urged the apex court to direct the Centre to devise a proper mechanism, so that the accountability of the agencies could be ensured.

The judges issued notices to the Centre on the plea and sought a reply within six weeks.

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