Kerala police chief denies snooping on emails (Lead)

January 17th, 2012 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 17 (IANS) Kerala’s Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose Tuesday denied ever having snooped on emails of some people, including a former Muslim lawmaker, as reported in the media.

Punnoose was reacting after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy ordered an urgent inquiry into media reports that the Kerala Police Hi-tech Cell since November was snooping on emails of 189 people, all of whom were Muslims. The list included a former lawmaker and a legislator of the ruling front constituent Indian Union Muslim League besides journalists.

“It is unfortunate that such a wrong report was published and none had ever asked for snooping of emails. As part of inquiry into a case it was found out that one individual had created 268 email IDs and the investigation wanted to find out under whose names was all this created. Beyond that nothing has happened,” said Punnoose in a press release issued by the office of Chandy Tuesday night.

Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan described the Kerala government’s act of snooping into email accounts as fascist.

In a statement issued, Achuthanandan slammed Chandy for “following in the footsteps of the American administration and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi”.

“We wish to know from Chandy if former Rajya Sabha member P.V. Abdul Wahab and legislator Abdul Samad Samadhani, both belonging to the ruling front ally Indian Union Muslim League, have terrorist connections and is it because of that their emails were snooped into?” asked Achuthanandan.

On Monday, news surfaced that the Intelligence Department here was snooping into the email accounts of 189 Muslim leaders, including journalists and politicians.

The Intelligence Department had asked email providers like Google, Yahoo and Hotmail to provide the logs of these people who belonged to the Muslim community.

As soon as the report appeared in a Malayalam daily and a magazine, Chandy asked newly appointed Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) T.P. Senkumar to probe the allegations.

“This act by the government is an intrusion of the privacy of individuals and all wish to know what the IUML has to say on this,” asked Achuthanandan.

State IUML general secretary K.P.A. Majeed said the chief minister has already ordered an investigation.

“So now let the probe report come out, and then we will react to it,” said Majeed.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists also condemned the tracking of emails and tapping of telephones of journalists.

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