In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former Andhra Pradesh chief minister said the state government was systematically attacking the democratic institutions in various ways. “One such modus operandi that the ruling government has chosen is by illegally and unlawfully tapping the phones of leaders and of opposition parties, advocates, media persons and social activists,” Naidu wrote in the letter.
Naidu cited the Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Information Technology Act, 2000, and said that phone tapping can only be done in matters of national security, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the nation or in situations where there is a threat to friendly relations with foreign countries.
“It directly stands against Articles 19 and 21 of fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution, wherein right to privacy is concerned,” Naidu said, adding that the state government is “tapping phones illegally for its own political gains”.
The former chief minister also claimed in the letter that the ruling dispensation is using illegal software for the alleged phone-tapping purposes and said that it could pose a threat to national security. “Such sophisticated technology in the hands of miscreants will not only violate [the] right to privacy of individuals, but would also lead to compromise of people in high places by bringing them under blackmail threats,” he added.
Apart from targeting political leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, the State Election Commission, advocates and social activists, the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led government was now attacking the judiciary because the third pillar of democracy was creating hurdles for the dispensation, Naidu said.
Earlier in the day, advocate Sravan Kumar filed a lunch motion in the Andhra Pradesh High Court against the state government seeking an inquiry into the alleged phone-tapping, the Hindustan Times reported. The High Court agreed to take up the petition on Tuesday.