Manmohan Singh says tapping of phone must be done with utmost care

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - Defending the government’s use of phone taps, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said these powers were necessary to deal with issues like tax evasion but it has to be exercised with care.

Addressing at the inaugural session of the India Corporate Week here, Dr. Singh said: “We are aware of the nervousness in some sections of the corporate sector about phone tapping. While these powers are needed, they have to be exercised with well defined rules so that they are not misused.”

“We need solutions to prevent public access to phone conversations outside the legal framework of the government,” he added.

“We must also look for solutions through technology to prevent access of telephone conversation to systems outside the institutional framework of government,” he said.

Dr Singh further said that Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar had been asked to submit a report on the phone-tapping issue within a month.

“Legal mechanisms already in place should be stringent for more effective enforcement. I am asking the Cabinet Secretary to look into these issues and report back to the Cabinet within the next month,” he added.

He said the powers conferred upon government authorities to tap phones in the interests of national security and to prevent tax evasion should be exercised with concern.

His comments come in the wake of Ratan Tata raising concern over the leak of his conversation with corporate lobbyist Nira Radia. (ANI)

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