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9,600 phones, 1,100 email IDs being tapped in India

March 05, 2013 16:10 IST

A request by Intelligence Bureau for clearance for tapping of two phones in which the address was mentioned as "unknown" has been rejected by a high-powered government committee.

Permission to tap the two phones -- which were placed under surveillance during the tenure of previous IB Chief Nehchal Sandhu -- was turned down by the committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth since some more details were needed to be furnished before any approval could be given.

The committee which also comprises Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar and Secretary, Legal Affairs, B A Agarwal reviews orders for tapping issued by the Union home secretary.

It noted that in the two cases where permission was sought on December 18, 2012, the names and addresses of the users were mentioned as unknown and permission was sought for tapping since the "intelligence sought to be generated could not be obtained from any other source".

It was desired by the committee to place on record more details about these two cases, according to the minutes of the meeting held in February.

Barring these two cases, the review committee confirmed tapping of nearly 9,600 telephones and 1,100 emails by various security and police forces throughout the country.

Over 5,080 phones were intercepted during December in addition to more than 4,490 phones which were already being tapped. The interception is ordered by various intelligence agencies, police forces and the army.

Besides phones, nearly 1,100 email addresses were also being intercepted under the Indian Telegraph Act, according to information given to a high-level committee which reviews such orders issued by the Union home secretary.

The Intelligence Bureau topped the chart monitoring nearly 5,300 phones out of which over 2,100 requests were made in December alone and was followed by Andhra Pradesh Police which made 597 requests in the month besides keeping under surveillance 764 others, the sources said

Army's Signal Intelligence is tapping over 800 phones out of which 757 requests were made in December while 58 are already being intercepted by it, the sources said.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which had over 160 phones already under its scanner, has made a fresh request for intercepting nearly 480 phones during the month, they said.

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