New Delhi: The Central govt was accused of using the Police to spy on Rahul Gandhi, whose home was visited earlier this month by policemen who sought information about his hair and eye colour, shoe size, and the names and contact information of his associates.
“What is wrong in this? When Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, his body was identified by his shoes,” said senior minister Venkaiah Naidu. The minister was referring to Mr Gandhi’s father, who was killed in 1991. In Parliament earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley averred that the Congress “is making a mountain out of not even a molehill” as he outlined that the process that saw a questionnaire being furnished to Mr Gandhi’s staff was initiated by Rajiv Gandhi’s government in 1987.
Ministers like Mr Jaitley point out that the profiling of prominent politicians has seen Mr Gandhi’s mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi completing the controversial form. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was subjected to the same process last year, like other former premiers, he said.
The Congress and other opposition leaders rejected that explanation. “Is this the sort of spying that this government plans against political opponents?” asked Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament. At one point, opposition parties walked out of the Rajya Sabha or Upper House to register their protest.
“I have explained the details to the Home Ministry,” said Delhi Police chief BS Bassi, adding “the matter has ended there”.
Mr Gandhi, 44, is missing in action during the controversy that has unfurled around him. He is on a controversial sabbatical during the key Budget Session of Parliament; his absence has incited deep criticism and left his party on the defensive.
“Why target him? Why not question Arvind Kejriwal?” asked Congress leader Ajay Maken today, referring to the Delhi Chief Minister who has spent nearly 10 days at the famous Jindal Centre near Bangalore, being treated for cough and diabetes.