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MHA conducting 'audit' of phone-tapping equipment

February 01, 2013 17:31 IST

The Union home ministry is conducting an audit of controversial phone-tapping equipment, which was allegedly used during former Army Chief Gen V K Singh's tenure for snooping on senior defence ministry officials at the peak of the row over his age.

"This inquiry was conducted on the request of the home ministry, which is auditing this (phone tapping) equipment imported by various stakeholders. Not only for army, (it was taken) all over India (by) many people," Defence Minister A K Antony said Friday.

 He was answering queries on the controversial intelligence unit set up by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh.

The defence minister suggested that the army had conducted an inquiry into the phone tapping equipment with the technical support division on the request of the home ministry.

The unit was allegedly involved in tapping of phones of senior defence ministry officials using equipment known as off-the-air-interceptors.

Soon after Gen V K Singh retired on May 31, the army ordered a board of officers under DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia to look into the functioning of the controversial TSD.

The defence minister refused to comment on the findings of the probe saying he had not yet seen the report.

Recently, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh had said the Army was going into the performance of the TSD.

"It is a performance audit of the group. I can assure you that the inquiry would be very fair," he had said.

When the tapping issue came up in February last year, the army had then denied possessing any such equipment in its inventory saying such machines were with the Defence Intelligence Agency which was under the defence ministry.

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