The snooping of Congress vice – president Rahul Gandhi by the Delhi Police has created storm in parliament. An angry Congress demanded explanation from the government over the issue.”Why does the police need to know his shoe size… is this the sort of spying that this government plans against political opponents?” asked Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley denied the accusations in the Rajya Sabha . “The Congress is making a mountain out of not even a molehill,” he said, adding that in 1987, it was the Congress government, headed by Rajiv Gandhi, that initiated a profiling process for prominent politicians that involves the completion of a proforma or document.
Earlier, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Delhi Police sought details about Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. In a series of tweets, Tharoor said the prime minister needed to explain why the government needed details of a person protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG). “PMO needs to explain why it needs details of a person protected by the SPG. All his movements are recorded by SPG,” Tharoor tweeted. “Police sought telephone numbers, addresses of Rahul Gandhi’s associates and friends. Delhi Police need to clarify why this info was needed,” said the MP.
Terming the incident as ‘Snoopgate 2’, Tharoor said: “Original Snoopgate involved misuse of Gujarat government machinery for surveillance of a woman. Snoopgate2 involves misuse of police versus opponents ?”
Delhi Police personnel visited Rahul Gandhi’s residence last week and also sought details about his height and colour of eyes and hair. The Congress along with other opposition parties came down heavily on the Central government bringing it in the dock . Raking up the issue in the question hour of Parliament, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad claimed that the move is against the democratic values and liberties of the nation. “This has never happened before. How does a size of shoe matter? How does his habits matter? Who are his friends, his aides, their numbers, this is beyond my understanding,” he said.
Azad even questioned the Centre by asking if this is the government’s way of scaring politicians for raising issues inside and outside the Parliament “Is this kind of snooping being done to scare political parties,” he said.
“India is not a police state. It is not like Pakistan that anyone will be put inside by the general,” he added.
Forced to reply to the allegations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Congress was “making a mountain of something that is not even a mole. He claimed that it was not incident of snooping as that does not involve taking details but is done secretively. He said that VIPs in the past have also been profiled for security purposes. “When a former PM was assassinated, his identification was done with his shoe size. It has relevance in security. In 1999, the performa was changed, it is not about NDA and UPA,” he said.
“Even Vajpayee was profiled. It was done on 9th June, 2011. He is an important VIP. Sonia Gandhi profiling was done in October 2004, even in 2012 during their own rule,” he claimed.