Govt refutes phone-tapping reports

New Delhi: The government today denied media reports that the Army had unauthorisedly deployed phone tapping equipment in the capital and said that such stories are being spread by some retired officials.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "No deployment of any phone tapping equipment at various places in New Delhi has been reported by the Army." He was replying on whether the Army had unauthorisedly deployed phone tapping equipment, called off-the-air interceptors, at various places in New Delhi as reported in the media recently.

"Army Headquarters has informed that there are reports of such stories being spread by some retired officials," Antony told the House. He also denied reports that the equipment were being utilised to unauthorisedly tap phones of senior government functionaries in and around New Delhi, and that his own office was allegedly bugged.

Antony informed the House that an anonymous complaint was made to the Defence Secretary detailing motive and `modus operandi` of entire unauthorised tapping episode. But he denied that government has ordered an inquiry into the facts and circumstances mentioned in the complaint.

In reply to another question, Antony said that the Defence Ministry has not received any report of spying. "No case of spying has been reported in the Defence Ministry," he said when asked on whether government has taken cognisance of alleged reports of spying in the Defence Ministry.