Modi 'snoopgate' probe will start before 16 May, say Congress leaders

Union law minister Kapil Sibal said on Friday that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government – widely expected to go out of power – will appoint a judge for the 'snoopgate' commission involving Narendra Modi before 16 May, the day when the outcome of the general elections will be known.

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde virtually echoed Sibal's statement, saying the government will appoint a judge for conducting an inquiry into the Gujarat scandal where Chief Minister Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, is accused of putting spies on the movements of a young lady for no ostensible reason.

"The cabinet had taken the decision to appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the incident of snooping on a woman in Gujarat. We will appoint the judge ... before 16 May," Shinde told a press conference in Shimla.

Asked whether the appointment of a judge in the midst of Lok Sabha elections would not amount to violation of the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct, Shinde said "it would not" as the decision had been taken more than four months ago by the union cabinet.

"I am worried. The way the Chief Minister of Gujarat snooped into the life of a woman, I am really worried what will happen to the women of the country if he becomes the Prime Minister," he said.

Sibal, meanwhile, rubbished BJP leader Arun Jaitley's claim that no judge will "lend" himself to the "political and malafide" exercise targeting Narendra Modi.

"You will get a snoopgate judge before 16 May. I don't know why these people are so worried,'' Sibal said at the same Shimla function.

The Congress leader said BJP is worried as its leaders know the fact that "once the commission is set up there is no saving of Narendra Modi."