Saheb and Stalking: petition submitted to the President by women’s rights activists

Nov. 25, 2013

Shri Pranab Mukherjee
Hon’ble President of India,
‘Rashtrapati Bhawan’,
New Delhi.

Subject:- Blatant violation of the Constitutional oath, negation of ‘Right to Privacy’ enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, gross abuse of State power and misuse of police machinery and commission of offences under the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Indian Penal Code by Shri Amit Shah, then Minister of State for Home on behalf of and under directions of Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat in running an illegal ‘snooping racket’ against a young woman, her friends and acquaintances transgressing constitutional and legal power.

Hon’ble Sir,

Independent news portals i.e. Gulail and Cobrapost have released extensive audio-tapes on 15th November, 2013 revealing illegal surveillance of a young architect woman from Gujarat in September, 2009 by three wings of Gujarat Police i.e. State Intelligence Bureau, Crime Branch and Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) by former Minister of State for Home, Gujarat and now BJP National General Secretary – Shri Amit Shah under directions of his ‘Saheb’ i.e. Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat. A copy of the transcripts as is available on the website of cobrapost.com is enclosed as Annexure A-1.

The tapes reveal shocking, grim and completely unacceptable level of surveillance of the young woman, her friends and acquaintances. Gujarat Police followed her across the boundaries of States to malls, restaurants, gyms, when she went to visit relatives, when she went to see her mother in hospital, when she took a flight, when she checked into a hotel and to every building she visited or stayed in.

Tapes also reveal surveillance of different men this young woman was meeting with or speaking to. Tapes also reflect that Shri Amit Shah asked for tapping of phones not only of this young woman but also of her friends and acquaintances.

Tapes further reveal that one of these men that this young girl met in the course of her professional capacity as an architect was Shri Pradeep Sharma, IAS who was then posted as Municipal Commissioner Bhavnagar. Is it a sheer co-incidence that Shri Amit Shah had told Shri G.L. Singhal, SP to imprison a man who was meeting this young girl and to ensure that this man ‘rotted in jail’ longer than the suspended ATS DIG, Shri D.G. Vanzara? Is it also a coincidence that three months later Shri Pradeep Sharma, IAS was arrested by Gujarat Police in Kutch Debris Scam?

Shri Rajnath Singh, BJP National President as also BJP Spokespersons have tried to justify this Constitutionally illegal action to defend Shri Narendra Modi as also Shri Amit Shah and others by making public statements to the effect that this surveillance was done on an ‘oral undated request’ of father of this adult woman. May we respectfully submit that this lame duck explanation being given by BJP and its National President – Shri Rajnath in hindsight is completely bizarre, morally unacceptable, legally unsound and constitutionally untenable?

This illegal surveillance constitutes blatant violation of constitutionally enshrined ‘right to privacy’, misuse of police machinery, gross abuse of power, blatant misuse of state resources and and negation of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 as also Indian Penal Code with scant regard for the Constitution, law and liberty of citizens raises pertinent questions about credibility, credit worthiness and faith that one can repose in a person like Shri Narendra Modi who is holding the high office of Chief Minister of State of Gujarat.

Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat and Shri Amit Shah, MOS Home, Gujarat & current BJP National General Secretary have adopted a conspiratorial silence on the issue refusing to answer any question in the matter either to citizens of India or to members of civil society as also to members of print or electronic media. We may also point out that then Commissioner of Police of Ahmedabad, Shri S.K. Saikia has now gone on record to say that no permission of any nature was ever taken to tap the phones of this young woman, her friends and acquaintances. Further, then DGP of Gujarat, Shri R.B. Shreekumar has also issued a public statement pointing out that Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister, Gujarat also asked for illegal tapping of phones of Shri Shanker Singh Vaghela, leader of Congress Legislature Party & former Union Minister as also of late Shri Haren Pandya, former Home Minister of Gujarat, who was mysteriously assassinated in 2003 and whose father has accused Shri Narendra Modi for the death of his son.

This whole sordid episode raises certain pertinent questions for your kind consideration. These are:-

(1) ‘Right to Privacy’ is part of fundamental rights of ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21 of Constitution of India as held by Supreme Court of India umpteen numbers of times.

Do Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah have right to conduct surveillance of a young girl as also tapping her phones, phones of her friends and acquaintances with complete impunity in a totally illegal fashion?

(2) Under what authorization or law, did Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah choose the three wings of Gujarat Police i.e. State Intelligence Bureau, Crime Branch and Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) – for purposes of illegal surveillance of this young girl and tapping of phones of this young girl, her friends and acquaintances? Why was Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) involved? Whether Shri Narendra Modi or Shri Amit Shah had an apprehension of any terrorist activity?

(3) Are Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah entitled to use State police machinery beyond boundaries of State of Gujarat and in other State(s) to conduct surveillance of a young girl, her friends and acquaintances?

Did Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah inform the Government(s) and police authorities of any State(s) before undertaking illegal and unauthorized surveillance activities within the territorial jurisdiction of the State(s)?

(4) Section 5 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 permits interception of conversation for ‘occurrence of a public emergency’ or ‘in the interest of public safety’ i.e. ‘danger or risk for people at large’. These and other conditionalities have been elaborately laid down by Supreme Court of India in ‘People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. Union of India’ – 1997 (1) SCC 301.

Will Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah tell as to what was the public emergency or danger or risk for people at large that led to surveillance of as also tapping of phones of a young girl, her friends and acquaintances?

(5) Services of dozen of police officers including SP level officers were used across cities in the State of Gujarat and other State(s) for undertaking the surveillance operations. Extensive money, resources and vehicles were used.

Will Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah explain as to where the money, resources, vehicles, plane tickets were generated from for purposes of surveillance? Did the money belong to public exchequer? If yes, how and from which head was this money used and its justification? If it was private money, where was it generated from and how was it being used by government officers?

(6) Contents of the tapes also reveal that ‘saheb’ i.e. Shri Narendra Modi was also conducting surveillance of this young girl from his own independent sources over and above the use of State police officers as stated by Shri Amit Shah.

Will Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah state as to what are these extra constitutional sources of intelligence that Shri Modi was using for surveillance of this girl? Who are these agencies or authorities who were conducting such intelligence operations for Shri Modi? What is the source of their funding? Do Shri Modi and Shri Shah continue to maintain the same?

(7) Is it not a fact that illegal interception of the nature conducted by Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah along with police officers of the State makes out a clear cut offence under Section 26 of the Indian Telegraph Act read with Section 120-B as also Section 166 of Indian Penal Code? Would it not also be tantamount to ‘stalking’ under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code?

Does it not violate the very oath of office to Constitution and people by Shri Narendra Modi?

(8) Is the young girl along with her friends and acquaintances i.e. the only private citizens who have fallen victim to a secret surveillance apparatus being run at the whims of Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Amit Shah? How many more people – political opponents, human right activists, journalists, witnesses, and police officers – have been subjected to such illegal surveillance?

(9) Why were extensive surveillance operations launched on an ‘oral undated request’ of father of an adult woman, as is now being sought to be alleged in hindsight? Which Chief Minister puts a young girl under such extensive surveillance on an oral undated request from her parent or relation? In how many cases before and after this incident has Shri Narendra Modi put young girls under surveillance on the request of their parents or relations? Why were other friends and acquaintances meeting up with the young girl being put under surveillance? Does an oral undated request of surveillance by a parent condone the crime of illegal surveillance of an adult citizen of India and her acquaintances and associates violating their human and civil rights?

(10) Call details leakage of Shri Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha had led to vociferous protests by BJP and blocking of Parliament for three days. It also led to registration of criminal cases and arrest of those found prima facie guilty.

Should similar action be not initiated against Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Amit Shah and others involved in this illegal ‘snooping’?

(11) Does this illegal surveillance not raise moral and ethical issues as to capability and style of governance of Shri Narendra Modi? Can a person with such flagrant disregard for law, Constitution and liberty of people be trusted with positions of public responsibility or to protect the rights of citizens?

This total breach of Constitutionally enshrined ‘Right to Privacy’ of a young woman, her friends and acquaintances raises pertinent issues of gender justice, equality before law and negation of oath of office for protecting life and liberty of every citizen. These facts have now been admitted by BJP and its National President – Shri Rajnath Singh. These questions are being asked by lakhs of young men and women in this country qua protection of their right to personal liberty and right to privacy that were being trampled upon at the whims of Gujarat Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. Not only have Shri Narendra Modi as also Shri Amit Shah and others violated the oath of office but they have also breached the obligations of protecting the life and liberty of every citizen besides committing crimes under the Indian Telegraph Act as also Sections120-B and 166 of Indian Penal Code.

Given the grave violations of constitutional rights and laws at the behest of the highest Executive authority of Gujarat, viz. Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi and former Minister of State for Home, Gujarat – Shri Amit Shah, and the fact that it is causing great fear and consternation in the minds of the women of the country, the situation requires your intervention, as Head of the Nation, through directing an independent and fair Judicial probe into the entire issue, to restore the confidence of ordinary citizens, particularly women, that state power is not being misused to breach their constitutional rights.

With regards,

Yours sincerely

S.NO

NAME

AFFILIATION

SIGNATURE

ABHA DEV HABIB ACADEMICIAN
ANJALI HEGDE COMMUNICATION PROFESSIONAL
ANNIE JANGAM STUDENT, LAW UNIVERSITY
ANNIE NAMALA NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR DALIT HUMAN RIGHTS
ANNIE RAJA NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDIAN WOMEN, CPI
BADER SAYEED ADVOCATE, CHENNAI
BHAVNA SHARMA ANHAD
FARAH NAQVI SOCIAL ACTIVIST
GITALI PAWAR LITTLE MORE
JEEVIKA SHIV AMAN BIRADARI
JUHI JAIN SOCIAL ACTIVIST
MANISHA SETHI JAMIA TEACHER’S SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION
MANISHA TRIVEDI ANHAD MAHILA MANCH, GUJARAT
MANSI SHARMA ANHAD
MEERA RIZVI ENGINEER, WRITER
MOHAMEDI MEWAT KARWAN
MONIDEEPA BAUL PEACE
NAFISA ALI ACTOR
NAFISA BAROT UTTHAN, GUJARAT
NILANJU DUTTA JAGORI
NIVEDITA MANE NCP- WOMEN’S WING
NOORJAHAN DIWAN BHARTIYA MUSLIM MAHILA ANDOLAN, GUJARAT
OLIVIA MICHAEL FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC ASSOCIATIONS, DELHI
PADMINI KUMAR JOINT WOMEN’S PROGRAMME
PALLAVI PATIL DINABAMA PATIL FOUNDATION
PARAMJIT KAUR ASHRYA ADHIKAR MANCH
PRAMILA LOOMBA NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDIAN WOMEN
PURVA BHARDWAJ SOCIAL ACTIVIST
SAPNA VERMA LOK JANSHAKTI PARTY
SEEMA MISRA ASSOCIATION FOR ADVOCACY AND LEGAL INITIATIVE
SEHBA IMAM LET’S WALK, GURGAON
SHABNAM HASHMI ANHAD
SHEBA GEORGE SAHRWARU, GUJARAT
SHIKHA SETHIA AMAN BIRADARI
SHOBHA OZA ALL INDIA MAHILA CONGRESS
SUDHA TIWARI SHAKTI SHALINI
TERESY ANTONY FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC ASSOCIATIONS, DELHI
VIMAL THORAT ALL INDIA DALIT MAHILA ADHIKAR MANCH
ZAKIA SOMAN BHARTIYA MUSLIM MAHILA ANDOLAN
ZULEKHA JABIN INSTITUTE FOR MINORITY WOMEN, CHATTISGARH
DR SYEDA HAMID MEMBER, PLANNING COMMISSION