The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, citing two RTI applications, said that 9000 telephone calls and 500 emails were intercepted in the year 2013 on the order of UPA-2 government.
Defending, Ministry of Home Affairs'(MHA) recent order allowing ten central agencies to access any computer in order to intercept, monitor, and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra clarified that the December 20 directive did not authorise any “new agency” to intercept calls or emails.
Accusing Congress and the opposition parties of indulging in double speak and hypocrisy, Patra said, “In August 2013, while replying to an RTI query, the UPA II government informed that on an average there were 9000 telephone calls which were intercepted, per months by the order of the then central government. During the same period, 500 emails were also intercepted.”
“Later another RTI query was filed on November 21, 2013, which sought the details of agencies authorised to intercept call and emails. Reply of the same was given on 24 December 2013, which stated that 10 agencies including nine central agencies and one state agencies were authorised for the intercepting the data. The list included IB, NCB, ED, CBDT, DRI, CBI, NIA, RAW among other as well as state DGP’s and Commissioner of Police, Delhi,” Patra added.
He also alleged that the Congress party, which was intercepting 9000 calls and 500 emails per month, is now making false allegations of spying.
On December 20, Central Government authorised ten security and intelligence agencies for the purposes of “interception, monitoring, and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.”
The Centre, however on Friday clarified that every individual case will continue to require the prior approval of Union Home Ministry or the state government.
The Congress party has been cornering the central government while terming the move “an attempt to convert India into a surveillance state”.
“Through this order, the BJP government is converting India into a surveillance state. It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgement which states that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. The government has done it by stealth, we collectively oppose it because this gives unlimited power to all these agencies to monitor every information to intercept and complete surveillance, which is completely unacceptable in our democracy,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had said on December 21.