New Delhi, June 22 : Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today asked the media not to waste time on "bogus things" like attempt to bug his office in North Block.
"All these are bogus things. Don't waste your time on this," he shot back at reporters who sought replies on his statement yesterday that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) found nothing in alleged bugging of his offices.
Reported bugging of the offices of the minister and his aides in North Block has raised the hackles of those in government and Opposition parties have demanded an investigation, calling it a serious issue.
"In respect of news item regarding bugging in my office, the IB investigated into it and found there is nothing in it," Mukherjee had said yesterday.
Describing the reported bugging as "India's Watergate", Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the IB's opinion that it was mere chewing gum stuck at various places in Mukherjee's office was a "joke".
Swaraj sought to know if the government was spying on its own minister or a corporate house was doing so. She demanded government's clarification on the issue.
BJP today termed as a “big joke” the Intelligence Bureau's “chewing gum theory” regarding the alleged bugging of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's office and demanded a thorough probe into the matter.
“The allegation of spying at Pranab Mukherjee's office is a serious matter. The Finance Minister himself may try to dismiss it...he may be under some compulsions. But the country wants to know,” Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.
“The IB's chewing gum theory is a big joke,” she said.
Swaraj said Mukherjee's complaint to the Prime Minister in September regarding discovery of “planted adhesives” at 16 places in North Block—including his own office, his adviser Omita Paul's room, his private secretary Manoj Pant's office and two conference rooms—should be taken seriously.
“As far as the allegations are concerned, two questions can be raised... whether the spying was being carried out by the government itself against its Finance Minister or some corporate house was doing it. In both the situations, it is a serious issue,” the BJP leader said.
Slamming the IB, which concluded that the adhesive may just be chewing gum left behind by maintenance staff, she said, “If they give such a childish argument and expect the country to believe that those were chewing gums, people will laugh and ask from where did such an intelligent chewing gum has come... (that) sticks itself wherever it goes.
“Even Pranab must be knowing the difference between adhesive and chewing gum. I demand the government should take his letter seriously and conduct a thorough probe.”
Swaraj said if the government was doing it, that reflects the “trust deficit” between the ministers and if some corporate house was involved, then it is a serious security breach.
“That is why I called it the Watergate of India. There (in the US) it was done against the opposition. Then also the American President had to resign. Here it is against their own FM...the country should know the truth,” she said. PTI