The Government of Gujarat appointed the Inquiry Commission presided by Sugnya Bhatt with the hope that the atrocious stalking of Mansi Soni by the Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad under the orders of Modi and Amit Shah would be swept under the carpet for sometime. This attempt by Modi may also prove futile with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate before the High Court of Gujarat challenging the very reference made to the Commission. Can a commission be appointed for inquiring into private snooping as the Government tried to make out initially? Is this issue a matter of definite public importance which would fall under the Commission of Inquiries Act?
While the Gujarat High Court is going to decide this all important question, it is the Government itself which is responsible for reducing the Mansi snooping case into a private security arrangement for a young lady who had to attend to her mother’s operation in Ahmedabad at odd hours! After the snooping scam broke out, BJP procured a letter from Pranlal Soni, the father of Mansi Soni which was read out by Rajnath Singh at Delhi. Pranlal had stated that as the mother of Mansi had to be operated at Ahmedabad (at Sterling hospital) and that’s why he had requested Modi to provide Mansi with security as she had to travel at odd hours.
We recently found the discharge certificate of Mansi’s mother Hasumati Soni which clearly states the dates she was admitted and discharged from Sterling hospital.The certificate shows that Hasumati was admitted on 11th August, 2009, and discharged on 13th August, 2009. The scanned copy of the relevant part of the certificate is given herein below:
Mansi Soni’s Mother’s Discharge Certificate Shows Exactly 2 Days of HospitalizationThus the number of days spent by Mansi’s mother in the hospital was just 3 days! The snooping was done from 4th August to 6th September, 2009. Would Modi explain why ATS was following her for a full month and more? Would this be a private issue or a horrendous misuse of Government machinery?
AHMEDABAD: A PIL, challenging the legality of Justice Sugnya Bhatt inquiry commission, set up by the state government to probe the alleged snooping incident, was today moved before the Gujarat High Court here.
The PIL, filed by lawyer Girish Das, said that the inquiry panel will investigate a single incident pertaining to illegal surveillance of a young woman ordered by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi‘s close aide Amit Shah.
However, under Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, under which the probe panel was set up, does not fall under public importance because it pertains to a single individual, he argued.
The petitioner further sought CBI inquiry into alleged illegal phone-tapping of 93,000 persons carried out by the state government in the last six months.
Two investigative news portals, Cobrapost.com and Gulail.com had claimed on November 15 that Amit Shah, then minister of state for home, had ordered illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one “Saheb” in 2009.
They had released taped conversations between Shah and suspended IPS officer G L Singhal to support their claim, but said that its authenticity could not be confirmed.
Civil society organisation and Opposition Congress had raised furore over the alleged snooping incident and demanded a CBI inquiry.
Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, who was also allegedly snooped by the police, had in a petition in the Supreme Court, said, “the reasons for his victimisation were his knowledge of the ‘intimacy’ shared by Modi with the young lady architect who worked in Bangalore but was originally from Bhuj in Gujarat.”
The state government had, on November 25, formed a two-member commission, comprising Justice (retd.) Sugnya Bhatt and former IAS officer K C Kapoor, to probe the alleged snooping scandal. Opposition Gujarat Congress has termed the probe panel as an “eyewash”.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala in the Gujarat High Court posted the matter for further hearing for next week.
The mandate of the two member commission set up by the Gujarat government to probe Snoopgate is a limited one. It will not look into Amit Shah’s or his principal’s motives for ordering the spying, but focus rather on clichéd areas such as whether the ‘timing’ of the release of tapes reveal a conspiracy. One wonders whether the real aim is to pre-empt Supreme Court supervision of the matter.