Home Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai, who is retiring on Thursday after 39 years of service, told rediff.com in an exclusive interview, that, "No bugging took place" in the office of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
He said, "It was the suspicion that it was bugged. It was never bugged. When the private agency searched his office they found anything. And the Intelligence Bureau also searched. They also found said that it was not bugged. IB did a complete check."
Last year, 16 adhesives strips were found planted in North Block offices of the FM's advisor, personal secretary and two conference rooms. Pranab wrote to the prime minister in September 2010 asking him to order a secret probe.
The Central Board of Direct taxes also conducted electronic sweeps. It was found that the surface of the strips had grooves which might have happened due to planting of tiny devices that may have been pulled out later.
When asked why one would find chewing gum at 16 places, Pillai said, "It's over the period of time. Who knows how many people come to visit FM's conference rooms? So many foreign dignitaries and others visit him who chew gum all the time."
While completely ruling out any bugging inside FM's office, he asked, "My counter question is what were sweepers and cleaners doing in the FM's office? Did they not look under the tables? All the gum were found on side of visitors and not on side of the table where FM or his officers sit. I think that's why the FM says that it was the non-event."
Pillai, has, so far, refused to run for the post of Chief Vigilance Officer after his retirement.
He said, "I am retiring and in 15 days time I am leaving for a holiday in Scotland with my family."
He said last two years had been very challenging.
While praising his boss Home Minister P Chidambaram, he said, "In all my 39 years of service the most intellectually challenging years has been last two years working with Chidambaram. He is perfectionist, he wants results. He wants things to be done yesterday. We did so many things. Chidambaram, in one sense, is the only minister who comes before the media every month and says what he did during the month. All the decisions like purchases of weapons, setting up of institutions, regional hubs, training courses he would share. We showed our performance. We put up everything on website. It's here to check and verify. He provided true leadership. He made us work double our capacity."
Watch out this space for the entire interview soon.