Free Press Journal

Phone tapping: Former Himachal top cop gets no relief


Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday refused to grant any interim relief to former director general of police I.D. Bhandari, accused of getting tapped the phones of politicians and government officials during the previous BJP regime.

A division bench of Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice D.C. Chaudhary refused to grant suspension of a show cause notice issued to him by the state.

Bhadari was told to file the reply to the state government.

Bhandari was heading the crime investigation department (CID) when the illegal phone tapping took place during the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led government. He appeared before the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau here for the first time Jan 22.

A first information report (FIR) relating to the tapping of over 1,300 telephones was registered June 26 last year. But so far, no one has been named in the FIR.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the inquiry into the phone tapping is near completion and the charge sheet will soon be filed in court.

Earlier, the vigilance bureau sent a questionnaire to then director general of police D.S. Manhas.

The present Congress government has accused the Dhumal-led BJP government of tapping certain telephone numbers illegally through the crime investigation and vigilance departments.

Dhumal, however, has refuted the charges.

The total number of phones tapped, mainly of Congress leaders, government functionaries and journalists in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act, was over 1,300, said officials.

Of these, the home department had granted permission to tap only 170 phones, they said.

Virbhadra Singh also accused the previous government of tapping his phones and bugging his rooms.

“While Dhumal was the chief minister, he was helped by then director general of police D.S. Manhas, his successor I.D. Bhandari and some other police officials,” the chief minister alleged.

Bhandari belongs to the 1982 Indian Police Service cadre and is currently posted as Director General of Home Guards and Fire Services. He was removed from the top police post Feb 18, 2013.