Fadnavis rejects allegations that his government tapped phones of Pawar and Thackeray

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New Delhi: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has rejected allegations that the former BJP-Shiv Sena government led by him had tapped phones of politicians including Sharad Pawar and the present Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections and the State assembly elections last year. Fadnavis also backed any government agency probing the allegations and bringing out the truth.

“Phone tapping of opposition leaders is not a tradition of Maharashtra. Our government never gave such an order. The present state government is free to do any probe by any agency,” Fadnavis was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.

Earlier today, Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh claimed that phones of Congress and NCP leaders were tapped by the previous BJP-Shiv Sena government in the state misusing the government machinery and in violation of laws.

“When the BJP government was in power in Maharashtra, before the general and legislative assembly elections, they tapped phones of NCP and Congress leaders to keep a tab on their activities,” Deshmukh had said, creating a flutter in state politics.

His suggestion was backed by Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, who tweeted that a senior BJP leader had told him about his phone getting tapped.

“Your phone is being tapped, a senior BJP minister had told me,” Raut claimed in a tweet and said it was a routine job for the home ministry as phone-tapping had become the new norm in politics.

“Phone tapping is done in politics these days. I don’t take it very seriously. Home Ministry is habituated to do phone tapping and keep an eye on their opponents. But in spite of them indulging in phone tapping, we formed the govt in Maharashtra,” Raut said in another tweet on the matter.

Fadnavis, however, rejected the conspiracy theory and said those laying the charge had little political credibility. He also said that Shiv Sena was part of the State home ministry in his government. Sena’s Deepak Kesarkar was the Minister of State for Home (Rural), Finance and Planning between December 2014 and July 2016.

“The whole nation knows the political credibility of the people who have made complaints about this issue,” Fadnavis was quoted saying by the agency.

Deshmukh had alleged that the BJP government had misused the machinery and sent officials to Israel to obtain phone-tapping software.

He announced the probe and Fadnavis welcomed it by saying, the issue should be investigated “as soon as possible” to bring the truth out in front of the people.

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