Govt likely to make statement on Rahul Gandhi ‘snooping’ issue
NEW DELHI: A furious Congress plans to confront the government in Parliament today over what it has titled ‘Snoopgate 2’ – the alleged political espionage against its vice president Rahul Gandhi by the Delhi Police. Senior minister Venkaiah Naidu has denied the accusations.
“Police only conducts a routine security check, there is nothing wrong, the government is no way involved in this,” the minister said.
Mr Gandhi, 44, who is not in the country, was profiled by police officers who visited his home as part of a routine and decades-old exercise that has covered nearly 500 VIPs who live in Delhi.
Delhi Police Chief BS Bassi reached Parliament House this morning to brief Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijuju on the controversy. Sources said Mr Rijju may make a statement today in parliament explaining the government’s stand.
On March 12, Delhi Police officials visited the residence of Mr Gandhi, who is on a controversial and lengthy ‘leave of absence’, and allegedly asked questions that included what colour his hair and eyes are and what kind of clothes he wears. Information on the names and phone numbers of Mr Gandhi’s associates was also allegedly sought.
The government says 526 political leaders, including Mr Gandhi’s mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, have routinely been profiled as part of a proforma or document-based process first begun by his father Rajiv Gandhi’s government in 1987.
Sonia Gandhi has filled the form on multiple occasions, say government and police sources. Pranab Mukherjee was profiled in 2001, 2007 to 2009, and in 2012, the year he was elected President.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was profiled last year; BJP chief Amit Shah is among the latest to be added to the list, sources said.
Mr Gandhi has been missing this crucial Budget Session of parliament – his party says he is on a sabbatical to introspect and contemplate his party’s future and its political strategy after a pile-up of damning electoral losses.