Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday said that a Bharatiya Janata Party leader had informed him that his phone was being tapped by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra.
On the Nationalist Congress Party’s allegation that the Centre has withdrawn party chief Sharad Pawar's security at his official residence in New Delhi, Raut said it could have been because Pawar was intrumental in forming the Shiv Sena-led government in the state.
"A BJP leader had told me that my phone was being tapped. I said if anybody wants to listen to what I am saying I welcome it. I am Balasaheb's chela (disciple), whatever I do, I do it openly," Raut told reporters.
"In spite of the phone-tapping, we formed the government in Maharashtra," he said.
Raut's remarks come a day after state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh alleged that the Fadnavis dispensation misused government machinery to tap the phones of opposition leaders, especially during the formation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government.
"The cyber cell of Maharashtra police has been asked to look into the various complaints of snooping/phone tapping that came in during the previous government," Deshmukh had said on Thursday.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had earlier also alleged that phones of opposition leaders were tapped by the Fadnavis government. He had also raised questions about the involvement of officials in the phone-tapping episode.
On the NCP's allegation about withdrawal of Sharad Pawar's security, Raut said, "It could have been because Pawar was instrumental in the formation of the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra. A few years ago, he was attacked in Delhi. Even the Gandhis' Special Protection Group security was withdrawn recently."
The Rajya Sabha MP was referring to the Centre's recent move of withdrawing the SPG cover of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka.