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Cong accuses HP govt of snooping on MLAs, demand strict action

Raising the issue on the second day of ongoing monsoon session of state assembly under point of order, Agnihotri said he had intercepted a message of a Police Official in which he had allegedly asked all PSOs deputed with MLAs to share their locations on daily basis.

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

The Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri on Thursday accused the BJP government of snooping on opposition and ruling members and said it is an infringement on the rights of MLAs.

Raising the issue on the second day of ongoing budget session of state assembly under point of order, Agnihotri said he had intercepted a message of a Police Official in which he had allegedly asked all PSOs deputed with MLAs to share their locations on daily basis.

The message further reads that the PSOs shouldn’t inform the MLA about this directive, he said, claiming that the message was also shared in State CID’s WhatsApp group.

“It seems that the state government was converting PSOs into Pegasus (a snooping software of Israel government) as they couldn’t procure it (in an indirect reference to the snooping scandal involving Centre government and opposition leaders),” he added.

He stated that a state government carries out such kinds of surveillance of criminals, terrorists and mafias as was now being done after hooch tragedy and explosion in illegal firecracker factory.

But we couldn’t understand as to why the state government was targeting the opposition and even its own MLAs, he claimed.

He claimed that Una MLA Satpal Raizada’s staff was allegedly approached by the CID staff and offered money in lieu of sharing information on his whereabouts and activities.

“It is a serious issue and the state government should take serious action or sack the official who had passed these orders,” he added.

Una MLA Satpal Raizada confirmed the allegations and said that he had requested for an PSO but he wasn’t provided with a police official of his choice as was the norm.

Replying to Agnihotri’s charge, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur termed the allegation, if true, a serious one and said the state government had not passed any such order.

He asked the source of information and urged Agnihotri to verify its credibility.

He stated that seeking information about MLAs whereabouts was a norm in the Police department as it happened many times with him too as his PSO was asked about his location when he was a MLA.

“It is a norm that PSO is given to a MLA as per his choice and it is seen that he is more loyal to him than to the police department.

In addition, it is a routine mechanism as ensuring the safety and security of a MLA is the responsibility of the state government,” he said, adding privacy of a MLA is of utmost importance and the government will take strict action if such orders had been passed.