The Home Ministry’s order authorising 10 central agencies to intercept any information on computers is characteristic of a government which believes in “snoop, scan, surveillance” remarked Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi while countering Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s claim that it was a mere repeat of the 2009 order.
“The spin doctorate holder (read Jaitley) is misleading people as there is a vast difference between the order of 2009 and the latest one,” said Singhvi.
“In the earlier order, the agency has to seek prior approval of the government on a case to case basis, now it can go ahead without any approval and obtain the same post facto,” noted the Congress leader.
“Mr Jaitley should be aware of the seven judge verdict of the apex court on right to privacy,” he added.
Talking to reporters here Singhvi said the dictatorial streak of the Modi government in the snooping order is not new. Intrusion, intimidation and the Big Brother watching syndrome was seen earlier in the NAMO App case when as many as 22 points were asked to gather data on the individual and also on certain aspects of Aadhar which were struck down by the apex court.
“Control by instilling fear is what the government is up to,” he said.
“Singhvi spoke at length on the Rafale deal and accused the central government of misleading the Supreme Court. It has committed breach of parliament, contempt of court and perjury,” he charged.
Singhvi said that central government has itself given a correction application after it was caught having stated that the CAG and PAC had examined the matter.
“Till two days prior to the PM Modi’s announcement, the agreement with HAL was on – the foreign secretary said so and officers of the French company had visited HAL, Bengaluru, the price was hugely more than what had earlier been negotiated and there is no sovereign guarantee, the benchmark price as recommended by a host of committees and the then defence minister was 5.2 billion Euro but the PM went ahead with 8.2 billion Euro,” he said.
Justifying the demand for a JPC probe, he quoted Pandit Nehru saying that Parliament is the “grand inquest of the nation” and a scam of such proportions needs a grand inquest.
“Even the Supreme Court has said it is not looking in to the price negotiation aspect. If the BJP is so confident and clean why does it not agree for a JPC which the entire opposition wants? Jaldi Pakdo Chowkidar (JPC) ko,” he quipped.
The Congress leader said that having drawn a blank in five states, the Modi government is running scared and wants to intimidate, divide and snoop on all.