The West Bengal Police on Tuesday filed a case against Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari after he claimed to have access to calls that an officer received from the office of Abhishek Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, PTI reported.
Adhikari had made the claims at a BJP rally in Tamluk town on Monday. He also issued a warning to the officer, East Midnapore Superintendent of Police Amarnath K.
The BJP leader referred to the police officer as a “young boy”, according to India Today. “I know all that he is up to, I am a veteran player,” Adhikari said. “I want to tell him that you are a central cadre officer so don’t indulge in anything for which you may get posted in Anantnag or Baramulla in Kashmir.”
Adhikari added: “I have each and every call record, phone numbers of all those who call you from the nephew’s [Abhishek Banerjee’s] office. If you have the state government with you, we have the central government with us.”
The BJP leaders claim came amid a huge political row in the country about the use of Israeli software Pegasus to spy on Opposition leaders, journalists and activists.
Abhishek Banerjee’s name had appeared on a list of potential targets of surveillance using the Pegasus hacking software, The Wire reported on Monday. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel and virologist Gagandeep Kang were also some other big names on the list.
Adhikari was charged under the Official Secrets Act as well as the National Disaster Management Act for holding a rally with over 50 people in violation of Covid norms, the East Midnapore superintendent of police told the Hindustan Times. “He made some communal statements for which Section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code has been added,” the officer added.
The Trinamool Congress demanded Adhikari’s arrest. “He has proved that Pegasus was used to snoop on many people, including Abhishek Banerjee,” the party’s State General Secretary Kunal Ghosh said.
Meanwhile, Adhikari said he had evidence to prove that the case against him was politically motivated, according to PTI. “I will file public interest litigation seeking a CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] probe into such allegations,” he added.