Leak of security breach threat at Pranab’s office embarrasses Congress

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first_imgThe leakage of a report on fears that the offices of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and his aides were bugged has deeply embarrassed the Congress.For the beleaguered party and the UPA government, the report on the alleged “spying” of Mukherjee, who is number two in the Manmohan Singh government and heads over three dozen Groups of Ministers on various important policy issues, has come at a time when there are whispers of a disconnect between the Prime Minister and his senior cabinet colleagues.The bugging attempt has spun various conspiracy theories in the corridors of power linking to the trust deficit between the top three – the PM, the finance minister and the home minister.According to the report, Mukherjee on September 7 last year wrote to Manmohan Singh to order a quiet probe into what he reportedly felt was a “serious breach of security” in his office. Confirming a part of the episode, Mukherjee told reporters that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had investigated the reported bugging in his offices and found nothing.Discounting the theory of involvement of high-level personnel in the operation, the baffled Congress responded by spinning wild stories about who could have been responsible.While a senior AICC leader suspected the hand of a corporate house, some others said it could be someone interested in manipulating the stock market. Another hinted at a China angle.This leader said the possibility of such a scenario being envisaged was rooted in the incident involving the hacking of computer networks in some countries by the Chinese. Another leader alleged that “some RSS moles”, either in the finance ministry or the home ministry, might have done it to “defame the government”.advertisementOfficially, the Congress declined to comment on the issue. Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said: “Mukherjee himself has responded. The party has nothing to add.” But the BJP asked the government to come clean on the episode.”It is a serious matter. If what has come to light is true, then it needs to be investigated. This has come at a time when there are so many cases of financial irregularities and scams,” BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. “Mukherjee is No. 2 in the cabinet. Who in the government is bugging its own ministers? This raises a lot of disturbing questions,” he said.When asked to respond to the BJP charge that the bugging was the result of differences between Mukherjee and P. Chidambaram, Natarajan said the BJP was in the habit of hurling “baseless and unfounded” allegations.”There is no need to respond to that,” she said.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img

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