The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Chhattisgarh government over allegations of tapping phones of a senior IPS officer and suspended DGP of Chhattisgarh Mukesh Gupta and his family members. Outraged at the violation of Gupta’s right to privacy, the Supreme Court observed that “no privacy is left for anybody”. Supreme Court questioned the current dispensation of Chhattisgarh on the allegation raised by Gupta in his 245-page petition that he was being targeted by the State government for “performing his duties”. Gupta also stated that this was a case of “an accused accusing his investigator” since as the DGP, he had registered a case against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee asked the Chhattisgarh government to file a detailed affidavit explaining as to who ordered the tapping of phones and the reasons for it. Justice Arun Mishra asked the government what the need was for them to act in this manner. “What is happening in this country?” Justice Mishra asked. “Can someone’s privacy be violated in this manner?” In a heated exchange before the top court, counsel for Mukesh Gupta, Mahesh Jethmalani alleged that an FIR had been filed against one of the lawyers appearing in the case. The Supreme Court stayed the probe against the lawyer and decided to hear the arguments in the matter on Friday.
The bench also warned Jethmalani of “politicising” the issue by naming the Chief Minister. Subsequently, the name of the Chief Minister was struck off from the memo of parties in the case before the Supreme Court. This development comes after the Supreme Court had earlier this year stayed three FIRs against Gupta and had also restrained the Chhattisgarh government from continuing the probe against him during the pendency of the matter before the top court. Supreme Court had also granted protection to Mukesh Gupta and his family members from arrest. Gupta has been accused of planting false evidence, evidence tampering and forgery along with other offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Telegraph Act. After Gupta was suspended on February 9, 2019, the current Congress government had constituted a Special Investigation Team to investigate the allegations against Gupta during the course of which his phones had allegedly been tapped.