New Delhi, Mar 16: Rubbishing Opposition's charges that it indulged in snooping of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Centre on Monday said it was a regular profiling which was being practiced by the erstwhile UPA government as well.
Addressing the Parliament over the controversy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Snooping is keeping a watch on someone silently,visiting someone's office & asking staff to fill out proforma is not snooping."
The Leader of Rajya Sabha, Jaitley, told the House, "Delhi Police's gathering information on Rahul Gandhi is not snooping but part of transparent security profiling."
Stating that the same was practiced by previous UPA Government as well Jaitley said, "This practice started during Congress Government in 1997, profiling of Congress President Sonia ji was done in 1998, Oct 2004, 2010 during UPA's rule."
"526 persons have been profiled using the present form," he said, adding this was part of "transparent, security profiling and not associated with any kind of snooping or spying," he added.
"It is not that it has been started in the last 8 months," he said and proposed to sit with Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to go through the 526 forms filled during the previous UPA rule.
On the proforma seeking information on shoe size, colour of eyes and other such information, Jaitley said, "When former PM Rajiv Gandhi was identified by his shoes after his assassination."
"Security needs and profiling should be left to security experts and we should not attempt to become one, he said, adding the issue raised is making mountain of what is not even a molehill," he further added.
Hitting out at the Congress leaders for unnecessarily raking up the controversy Jaitley said, "I understand you're short on issues, but don't invent an issue where none exists."
Rahul Gandhi's details being sought by the Delhi police has become a major issue and the Congress decided to take the matter to Parliament and protest. The Congress is raising the issue to push the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government to the wall.
A senior officer part of the process informed OneIndia, "It was nothing more than a security audit."
(With inputs from agencies)