Modi’s West India State Probes Allegation Aide Snooped on WomanAndrew MacAskill and Bibhudatta Pradhan
The Gujarat state government headed by India’s opposition prime minister candidate Narendra Modi ordered an investigation into allegations his aide told police to conduct illegal surveillance of a woman.
The panel, including a retired judge and a former government official, will report its findings in three months, according to a statement yesterday from the Gujarat government in western India. The inquiry will look at the authenticity of tapes of a Modi aide ordering the surveillance, and whether it was justified, the state government said in the statement.
The inquiry has the potential to embarrass Modi before national elections due by May if it shows he abused his position to monitor the woman, who was not accused of any crime. His party is on course to emerge with the most seats after the elections, according to an opinion poll published last month by India TV and Times Now television.
Calls to the mobile phones of Prakash Javadekar and Meenakshi Lekhi, spokesmen for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, were not returned. Modi, nominated as the BJP prime ministerial candidate in September, has not commented on the case.
“It’s an eyewash -- the truth won’t come out,” Bhakta Charan Das, a spokesman of the Congress party, said in reference to the Gujarat probe. Only an inquiry by the Supreme Court will make it impartial, he said.
The state government ordered the investigation after two Indian news websites -- Cobrapost and Gulail.com -- reported that police in 2009 followed her movements and the men she met. The websites said they have 267 recordings of Modi’s aide Amit Shah ordering the police to follow the woman.
Police followed her to the cinema, gyms, shopping malls and to meet her sick mother in the hospital, the websites said. They did not say why she was followed.
Modi’s opponents view him as an autocrat who failed to control attacks by Hindu mobs during 2002 anti-Muslim rioting in Gujarat that killed more than 1,000 people. The U.S. refused him a visa over his alleged role in the violence.