Punjab Shops For Anti-Snoop Gadgets – Mail Today – 07-Dec-2014

December 12, 2014 - Uncategorized

Amid growing cracks between the ruling coalition of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in Punjab, the state government has launched its secret plan to deal with possible ‘snooping’ by opponents. The plan is also designed to weed out ‘black sheep’ within the government. Sources close to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, ministers and bureaucrats say that the threat of snooping looms large on them.

The state government, in order to deal with the spying, has planned to quarantine and make important offices ‘bugfree’.

The government has also decided to procure high-tech, anti-spying equipment for the same spaces, the sources added.

“There is a proposal to buy car key cameras, key chain cameras, button cameras, room bugs, bug detectors, sniper detectors, memory sticks and heavy-duty cameras,” a top-level source said adding that the process will be taken up by the vigilance department.

According to sources, the Deputy Chief Minister is facing more spying threats than the others and most of the equipment, worth Rs 1.21 crore, is being procured for the Special Protection Unit (SPU), which is headed by him.

Earlier, a high-level committee comprising Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary (Home) Jagpal Singh, Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini and Principal Secretary (Finance) Vini Mahajan gave its approval for purchasing the gadgets.

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders alleged that the hi-tech gadgets are being purchased to spy on its leaders and the media rather than to prevent spying.

“The equipment will be misused to arm-twist opponents and Opposition leaders, including the media,” Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.

Spying is not new to Punjab. In 2008, the then Akali government had allegedly allowed the tapping of phone lines of the judiciary.

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