What is the Controversy?
- A high-power bug was accidentally found in the minister's bungalow, said a report in the news weekly The Sunday Guardian.
- More such devices were found following the process of debugging the device which was found at first, added the media report.
- Sunday's report claimed that the bugs were "planted by a foreign agency."
- It also asserted that such sophisticated listening devices were "used only by western intelligence operatives, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the NSA."
- The report also recalled previous controversies regarding "snooping row" between India and the US.
- Earlier former security contractor Edward Snowden released a few sensational documents regarding snooping by US on BJP.
- Edward had revealed that National Security Agency (NSA) was authorized to spy on the BJP in 2010.
- NDA government-led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi summoned American diplomats and lodged a strong protest after documents leaked by Snowden.
What is Gadkari saying?
- Despite such reports, Gadkari refused to comment on such controversy calling all media reports "speculative".
- Gadkari tweeted, "Reports in a section of the media about listening devices having been found at my New Delhi residence are highly speculative."
What is Subramanian Swamy saying?
- Subramanian Swamy, meanwhile, urged Modi government to make an official statement on the issue.
- Swamy said, "My own investigations and my sources reveal that this may happen not later than October last year."
- Swamy also added, "The planting of the device and that means at that time, when the UPA was in power, the NSA has specifically targeted the BJP and Gadkari was a very important person. He had the confidence of the RSS."
What is Home Ministry saying?
- However, Kiran Rijiju -- the Union Minister of State for Home, too rejected all the appeals calling for a probe.
- Rijiju was quoted as saying, "Gadkari himself has called it speculation. If that is the case, how can we intervene?"
How is Congress reacting?
- Former PM Manmohan Singh, however, asked for a probe saying, "If ministers' houses are bugged, then it is not a good omen."
- "It should be investigated. How can it happen? It should be explained by the ruling dispensation," added Singh.
- A government official, on the condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying, "The IB regularly sweeps offices of ministers who handle sensitive ministries at their request."
- "But as far as residences are concerned, I don't think the IB has conducted such an exercise," added the official.
- Congress, meanwhile, hinted at internal war in BJP as Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said that the incident reflected a certain lack of faith among ministerial colleagues and an absence of mutual trust.
- Asking the government to reveal the culprit's name, the spokesperson said, "It's time that both Gadkari and also the BJP and government come clean on the issue."