Karunanidhi rejects scribes’ prosecution in phone-tapping scandal

November 14th, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 14 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi told the state assembly Friday that the government has rejected the P. Shanmugham enquiry commission’s recommendations to prosecute leading English and vernacular language journalists over a a phone-tapping scandal.The commission’s final report was tabled in the house Friday .

The commission had claimed that journalists belonging to an English daily and a weekly, and a vernacular bi-weekly and a Tamil TV channel had transgressed the law while obtaining classified copies of the transcripts of phone conversations between a former minister and a police official.

Poongothai resigned in May following an expose of an alleged telephone conversation between her and a senior police official during which she reportedly sought favours for a relative. She, however, denied wrong-doing and claimed it was “a routine official conversation”.

The government, however, accepted Shanmugham’s suggestion to initiate departmental action against S.K. Upadhyay, a former director of the state’s directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption department, his aide and a legal advisor in the same incident.

Upadhyay was suspended July 17, two months after the commission submitted its interim report after probing the source of the conversation leak between the official and Poongothai.

Upadhyay also faced flak with regard to another phone conversation with former chief secretary L.K. Tripathy on matters connected with former chief minister J. Jayalalitha. The transcripts of the conversation were also published in a leading newspaper.

While Poongothai resigned, Tripathy was allowed to retire. Upadhyay and his aides continue under suspension.

The government also accepted the recommendations of another commission that exonerated officials after probing the causes of a stampede in a public distribution depot in the southwest suburbs here a few months ago that left 42 dead.

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