Let’s call him Doctor Phone Tap. Police sources say that if anyone wanted a phone tapped in Delhi, they went to Dr Anurag Singh, the man who is currently in police custody for seeking the call records of Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha. A qualified MBBS who worked with RAW as an informer, Singh is believed to be a treasure trove of information on telephone service providers, as well as someone with great connections in the Delhi police.
Investigating illnesses having long ceased to engage his interest, Singh turned soon enough to his first love: running a private detective agency. He has had an office in Connaught Place since 2005. His employee Neeraj was the man in touch with Arvind Dabhas, the Delhi police constable who is also ensnared in the phone tap scandal. All three are in custody as the special cell of the Delhi police tries to figure out the modus operandi of Dr Singh & Co.
According to Delhi police sources, Neeraj and Dabhas (who worked for private companies on the side) had sourced several CDRs or call detail records which show the numbers that have been contacted. Refusing to divulge any fuller details of the investigation, additional commissioner of police S.N. Srivastava told Outlook, “We are making positive progress in the investigation. We have got leads that will help us unearth the working of the people who are into accessing the personal call details of people. A clear picture will soon be before us.”
Sources in the Delhi police say there are two BJP leaders in Uttarakhand who were in constant touch with Singh’s agency as well. And Neeraj too claimed to have worked for the BJP leaders. Other requests for CDRs came from corporates. All this, however, is subject to verification.
Why would Jaitley’s CDRs be so much in demand? Here are some reasons the Delhi police offers for why CDRs are sought in the first place:
CDRs can also have a legitimate use, especially in kidnapping and abduction cases as they can help investigators track routes. In Jaitley’s case, the private detectives used Dabhas to access the CDR through an ACP.
Dump data is another common pool accessed by the police when a crime takes place. Such data gives a record of all the calls made in a particular area in the last 15 minutes. Dump data was sought, for instance, during the time of industrialist Ponty Chadha’s murder. Arun Jaitley’s number, claim the police, had surfaced among the bulk numbers that were accessed by the police during the investigations that time.
Reacting to the CDR controversy, a former senior scientist at NTRO, V.K. Mittal, says, “It shows us that a little laxity can be disastrous. These detectives sought more than a dozen CDRs, including Jaitley’s. We really need to use the technology in a careful way.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi police has revised the set of rules for accessing computers and information from various agencies. The password of ACP, operations, changes every 15 days. Nor is everyone allowed to access computers; only officers of specific ranks will be allowed to ask for call details from service providers.
The police have also decided not to access any post-paid connection unless there is a direct requirement. Most criminals use a pre-paid connection which they can abandon after their work is done. Vivek Singh, chairman of a body representing private security agencies, told Outlook, “We are awaiting the bill to regulate security agencies pending in Parliament. Dr Anurag Singh was earlier accused in the phone-tapping of Amar Singh. We certainly want action so that it serves as a deterrent for people who malign the image of private security services”. But the sordid political motives behind it notwithstanding, isn’t snooping around unethical anyway?
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Like everything else this will disappear into the mists of obscurity. It is not the quantum of punishment that acts as a deterrent. It is the CERTAINTY and speed of detection and punishment. Unfortunatey our police our unable to establish foolproof cases because of undue reliance on "confessions" and the judicial system allows things to drag on till everybody involved dies of boredom if not old age.
Net result - everyone breaks the law with impunity.
Well said, Bonita!
This is the heart of the problem in Indian democracy - a judicial system that is unaccountable and ineffcient, by any standards, coupled with an unaccountable police system.
One must also consider the primary objective of the principal opposition - communal polarisation of the Indian public - to understand why India is doomed to failure.
Shri Vinod Mehta came on timesnow and insisted that it was BJP's inside job and Shri Shinde was right. Since there was no representation from Congress Mr Mehta did the job well.
While the raids by CBI or Income Tax on any individual help enhance his social-stature, tapping of a politician's phone does reaffirm his superiority and importance in his party !
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