Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN
New Delhi: Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma on Saturday put Narendra Modi right at the centre of the raging controversy over the Gujarat government’s purported illegal surveillance on a woman by telling the Supreme Court that the young architect was subjected to hostile and intense scrutiny because the Gujarat chief minister was enamoured by her.
In his petition to the SC seeking a CBI probe into the alleged violation of the woman’s right to privacy and the Indian Telegraph Act by Modi and his aide Amit Shah, Sharma alleged that he was suspended and framed in half a dozen cases between 2010 and 2012 because of Modi’s suspicion that he knew about the contents of a VCD allegedly showing the woman in a compromising position.
This is the first time BJP’s PM candidate has been directly accused of complicity in the “snoopgate”. ‘She shared emails, SMSs from Modi’ N arendra Modi’s paranoia led to the woman architect being placed under “intrusive” surveillance and half a dozen cases being foisted on him besides his suspension, IAS officer Pradeep Sharma has alleged. “There was a perception in the CM’s mind that the lady architect in question was passing on information to me,” Sharma said. The woman had indeed confided in him about her contact over email and SMSs with Modi and on one occasion showed him a message from a cellphone used by the CM, Sharma said. P 8‘Clean chit by dad an afterthought’
The original charge was directed at Amit Shah, with two investigating websites alleging that Narendra Modi’s confidant illegally directed police in 2009 to keep tabs on the woman because of the wishes of “saheb”.
Pradeep Sharma has dismissed as an afterthought the Gujarat government’s claim that the woman’s father had approached the Modi government to ensure her safety by keeping an eye on her, and said that the tapes of Shah’s purported conversation with police officer G L Singhal make it clear that she was victim of a hostile and intrusive scrutiny in violation of her right to privacy as well as the Indian Telegraph Act.
Sharma claimed that he had introduced the architect from Bangalore, originally hailing from Bhuj in Gujarat, to Modi in 2004 when she was 27 years old.
“The applicant (Sharma) verily believes that Modi and the said female architect remained in touch with each other for next several years. There was also widespread rumours regarding the Video Compact Disc (VCD) featuring the said female architect and a man in compromising position,” his application stated.
“Sharma has no concern with this VCD, But, he believes that Modi harboured a totally misconceived apprehension that Sharma is the recipient of the information regarding this VDC, the contents of which if disclosed in public would be detrimental to the carefully constructed and publicized image of Modi and consequently damage his electoral prospects,” the suspended bureaucrat said.
“It is for this reason that a number of false and frivolous cases against the applicant herein were registerd with a view to implicate him and ‘punish him’,” he said.
Filing and bringing on the record of the Supreme Court transcripts of the entire footage telecast by websites ‘Cobrapost’ and ‘Gulail’, Sharma said the conversations between Shah and Singhal, then SP in the anti-terrorist squad in Ahmedabad, was during August-September 2009 when Singhal was reporting to Shah.
“The transcripts of the taped conversations reveal that the said lady architect and the applicant (Sharma) were placed under an all-pervasive and intrusive surveillance at the behest of a person referred to as ‘Saheb” by Amit Shah,” he said.