Top cop replaced after phone tapping controversy

Dhumal Demands judicial probe by sitting High court into the incident

Shimla/February 19
Twelve hours after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh alleged that that his phones were being tapped and rooms bugged when he was in opposition, the government has replaced the top cop, who was heading the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The Director General of Police ID Bhandari, who was head of CID when the alleged illegal phone tapping of politicians, bureaucrats and high-ranking officials took place during the previous BJP regime. Bhandari has been replaced by B Kamal Kumar, who was heading home guards and fire services, official sources said today.
B Kamal Kumar on assumed the charge in Shimla in the morning today. Both Kumar and Bhandari belong to 1982 batch of the Indian Police Service cadre but the former is retiring in July this year and Bhandari will retire next year. Bhandari will now be heading home guards and fire services.
Sources said that the decision to replace Bhandari was taken on late last after the screening committee on appointments, headed by Chief secretary Sudripta Roy cleared Kumar’s name for the top post. The state government can soon register a case in this case against the erring officials under the provision of the Indian Telegraph Act and it has already sought legal opinion on the implications of mass surveillance of telephones without following norms.
Earlier yesterday, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had said that during the Dhumal government rule phones of Congress leaders, top officials and others prominent were illegally tapped and there were sufficient evidence in the enquiry report. He had even blamed former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to be the real brain behind this.
Meanwhile, former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who has been blamed by the ruling Congress government for indulging in phone tapping, demanded a judicial probe by sitting judge of HP High Court. “The ruling party and current CM Virbhadra Singh is trying to defame me in public by raising issues that have no relevance as permission for tapping the phones was given by the home department, and the Chief Minister’s Office had nothing to do with it, Dhumal said in press conference organized in Hamirpur.
Dhumal further stated that phone tapping is normally carried out by the police to check anti-social activities and he had never given any direction for the same. If Singh thinks that there was phone tapping of politicians, he can order a judicial probe to investigate all the allegations, including the phone tapping done duing previous government of Congress regime.