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Odisha Govt caught in Phone Tapping Row

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TNI Bureau: In response to a RTI application, the Home Department of the Odisha government revealed that the State Government tapped as many as 4,620 land and mobile phones during the last four years between December 29, 2008 and September 15, 2012.

The RTI application was filed by a Bhubaneswar-based lawyer and human rights activist, Biswapriya Kanungo.

However, the government has not divulged the identity of the individuals whose telephonic conversations had been recorded.

It is only in the interest of public emergency or public safety that the government is vested with powers for telephone tapping since there is no absolute power under the Indian Telegraphic Act to tap phones.

As there was no such public emergency in the State during the last four years, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who heads the Home Department should answer for invading people’s privacy and violating fundamental rights of Right to Life.

Meanwhile, the phone tapping issue has triggered a controversy with the opposition Congress and BJP of the state demanding the resignation of Chief Minister.

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