Essar phone tapping case and Radia tape controversy are one of few phone tapping cases of India. There have been a lot of incidences of tapping in the country where high profile people including politicians, businessmen were involved.
Supreme Court has in PUCL v. Union of India (1997) had clearly stated that the right to hold a telephone conversation in private at home or at an office will come under the provisions of right to privacy and a telephone conversation is an important part of a person’s private life.
Recently, in West Bengal, there have been a lot of incidences of politicians alleging phone tapping and the breach of their privacy.
In 2009 – The then railway Minister and Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee alleged that her phone, as well as those of her personal staff, were being tapped at the behest of West Bengal government.
In 2014- Justice Pratap Kumar Ray- a former acting chief justice of Calcutta high court and head of the Central Administrative Tribunal’s Calcutta bench – alleged that his mobile phone was being tapped.
In 2015- Senior Congress leader Manas Bhunia complained to the state home secretary Basudeb Banerjee that his phone was being tapped at the behest of West Midnapore police superintendent Bharati Ghosh. Ironically, this is the first such complaint by a senior politician in the regime of Mamata Banerjee, who had herself raised the phone-tapping bogey while in opposition.
Babul Supriyo is MP from BJP and Currently, he is a Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in the Government of India. On 26th March 2017, he posted on his twitter account that he has reasons to believe that phones of some selected people are being trapped in Bengal using Israeli technology.
Hv reasons 2 believe, on special orders, mobiles of 'selected' individuals r bein tapped in Bengal using an Israeli Tech•Wil hv 2 do needful
— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) March 25, 2017
While talking to News leak Centre, Babul Supriyo said that “the rumours were there in the air for a long time but it’s not a secret anymore as there is a news article in leading newspapers today about Kolkata police acknowledging that they bought 38 lac Israeli Equipment to intercept conversations. It’s claimed that even What’s App text messages, which are supposedly encrypted, can be deciphered.”
He further stated, “the police claimed that the equipment will be used to break into terror network which is perfectly fine. But for quite some time now it’s quite an open secret that the ruling TMC govt. is using the police to tap the phones of politicians from opposition, journalists & others illegally. This is a major concern for the people in Bengal right now. While I admit that at this point I may not have any tangible evidence to prove it but as my tweet says, I do have strong reasons to believe in the alleged misuse and would love to have an enquiry done the same.”
If what Babul Supriyo is claiming is true this is a matter of serious concern for the privacy in the state. There has been a lot of allegations in the past and it will not as a surprise if the allegations will be proved. There has to be immediate actions against this and an investigation from central investigation agency. If the privacy of the people in power is not secured then it will make common people wonder if their privacy is violated.