In an exclusive, Republic TV has accessed an 2011 RTI document which reveals that the then ruling government, Congress-led UPA, had intercepted a number of phone calls on a monthly basis.
Congress, which has been at the forefront of an attack on the government over their decision to allow 10 agencies to intercept and monitor information on computer devices, had itself allowed interception of 7500 to 9000 calls per month.
An RTI reply to Paras Nath Singh has blunted all the attacks by the Opposition, which has termed the government's move as 'snooping', despite the BJP reiterating that it is being done for the security of the nation, and that no innocent citizen will be affected by it.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha in the aftermath of the order, had made it clear that the notification issued on December 21 was the same one which was present during Congress' regime, and that the opposition is misinformed.
"It will be better if opposition members have to get some details regarding this order. It's nothing new. We have seen agencies have rights to intercept in the past also. In Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, there are provisions. These orders of authorization have been repeated from time to time," Finance Minister said.
"On 20 December, same order of authorization was repeated that was existing since 2009. You are making a mountain where a molehill does not exist," he added while replying to the charges by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.
On Friday morning, the Central Government had passed a notification that authorised 10 agencies for the purpose of surveillance for national security. The recent order will ensure that no other agency except the ones listed below can intercept, monitor or decrypt information: