New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre and the CBI on a plea seeking direction to frame comprehensive guidelines regarding “tracing, tapping and surveillance of phone calls along with the preparation of stocks and accountability of officials.”
The court has fixed March 26 as the next date of hearing in the matter.
The petitioner advocate Sarthak Chaturvedi has also sought direction to constitute a Special Investigating Team (SIT) or direct the Centre to investigate the abuse of powers by some public servants of “CBI for having committed an offence of illegally intercepting phone calls of individuals without following due process of law and by abusing and misusing powers by a public servant for their ulterior motives.”
The petition claims that the Union of India is failing to take any action to formulate strict guidelines against the illegal tracing, tapping, and surveillance of phone calls. “Some public servants working in CBI for their ulterior motives abuse their power,” alleges the petitioner.
He also cited the example of recent case involving Special CBI Director Rakesh Asthana, which was registered on the instruction of ousted CBI Director Alok Verma.
The petition further states: “During the investigation of FIR dated 15.10.2018, an accused Manoj Prasad was intercepted by CBI at Delhi Airport and was brought to headquarters at New Delhi. The phone numbers of Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad were under technical surveillance of DIG, SU, CBI. It requires investigation whether any permission was obtained as per the rules.”
The petition also mentions: “The submissions made by Manish Sinha in his application before the Supreme Court of India reveal facts/circumstances warranting a comprehensive policy on the subject of technical surveillance by agencies. It is submitted that powers conferred upon public servants/agencies authorized for technical surveillance are essential for national security and interest.”
“But, uncontrolled and unaccountable powers may prejudice the same national security sought to be protected. The aforesaid facts reveal a violation of privacy and unaccountable/abuse and misuse of powers,” adds the petition.
The petitioner has requested the court to constitute an SIT to investigate the alleged “abuse of powers by some highly placed probe agency’s officials for having committed an offence of illegally intercepting phone calls of individuals without following due process of law and by abusing and misusing powers by a public servant for their ulterior motives.”