New Delhi/Shimla: The BJP and Congress yesterday traded barbs on the ‘snoopgate’ controversy concerning the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, with union Law Minister Kapil Sibal saying a judge will be appointed before May 16 to head the probe panel, and BJP leader Arun Jaitley noting that the new central government will be within its rights to review any “mala fide last-minute” decision taken by the UPA.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also hit out at Modi over his government’s alleged illegal surveillance of a young woman architect.
The central government had decided in December to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate charges of illegal surveillance by the Gujarat government.
Talking to reporters in Shimla, Shinde said he was scared that if a chief minister can put a woman under surveillance, what will happen to the women of the country if he became prime minister.
Shinde said the central government will soon appoint a retired judge to probe whether Gujarat Police spied upon a woman at the behest of Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
“The union cabinet has passed a decision to appoint a judge on the snooping case... the matter is in process,” Shinde said.
Asked if appointing a judge at the moment would be in violation of the model code of conduct, Shinde said: “It is not. The decision has been taken far earlier before the code of conduct began.
Opposition parties have alleged that Modi ordered the woman’s movements to be tracked.
Sibal said the UPA government will name a judge to investigate ‘snoopgate’ before May 16, the day results of the Lok Sabha election will be declared.
“You will get a (snoopgate) judge before May 16. Why are leaders of BJP worried and why are they making public statements that no judge should join this commission,” Sibal said. He added that the Bharatiya Janata Party was worried as its leaders “know that once the commission is set up, there is no saving Narendra Modi”.
Jaitley, who addressed a press conference, said: “First, they tried to appoint two new information commissioners; next, they tried to fill up the quorum of the search committee for appointment of the Lokpal; and lastly, they are trying desperately to get at least one judge to agree to head the snoopgate commission.”