Andhra Pradesh chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s panic and paranoia seem to have reached new heights. It is learnt that with elections around the corner, he has ordered surveillance of all political adversaries to be carried out by the state police. Sources say that Chandrababu is relying on a senior intelligence official in this matter. Needless to say, this rank abuse of official machinery to keep eyes and ears on political opponents is being seen as a desperate ploy by observers. It is learnt that Chandrababu Naidu is all set to misuse the call interceptor mechanism which is aimed at tracking anti-social and anti-national forces to further his deviant political agenda. However, it is not his political opponents alone, who are under the scanner of the TDP supremo. It is learned that officials and some members of his own party, are also likely to be targeted.
As per regulations laid down by the Central government, surveillance of this nature is authorized for terrorists, Maoists and other such disruptionist forces. Moreover, it is necessary to obtain clearance from the union government if phones of individuals/organizations are to be tapped. The AP government however, has reportedly not done anything of the sort and is going about its task misusing power. Police sources say that such phone tapping for political gains could prove to be counter-productive in many ways.
It may be recalled that the note-for-vote case in which Chandrababu’s close aide and former TDP MLA, Revanth Reddy was implicated while he was handing over money to a TRS MLA, rocked the two Telugu states in 2015. Chandrababu’s voice in an audio tape went viral and there were widespread rumours that he would be made a co-accused in the case. It is believed that the KCR government used the call interceptor mechanism at that time to entrap Revanth Reddy. The episode proved to be a major jolt for Chandrababu, who decided to acquire the call centre mechanism for the state of Andhra Pradesh. He sought clearance from the Centre in the name of combating Maoism and the system was set up in Amaravati. The misuse of the call interceptor mechanism for surveillance purposes on political rivals and officials is reportedly causing discomfiture among sections of politicians, intelligentsia and officialdom.