Newsmen’s role in Kerala email scandal: Police

published on March 28, 2012

A special Crime Branch team of the Kerala Police has received information that certain mediamen could have been involved in the scandal relating to the leakage of reports on the police Intelligence’s alleged surveillance on the email accounts of 258 Muslim personalities and institutions and ten others.

According to sources, the case diary of the police has indications that certain newsmen could become accused in the case. It is said that the police had got the information on newsmen’s alleged involvement during the interrogation of arrested first accused Biju Salim, a sub-inspector, now under suspension, at the police’s High-Tech Inquiry Cell.

However, sources said that immediate action against these newsmen was unlikely as the Government wanted to proceed cautiously. The police have sought legal opinion on the possibilities of taking legal action against mediamen under suspicion of involvement.

The police Intelligence’s move to monitor 258 email accounts belonging to Muslims became a huge controversy following reports on this appeared in Madhyamam weekly run by the Kerala chapter of the Jama’at-e-Islami. The Government had accused Madhyamam of being selective in divulging the names of the targeted email accounts.

At the same time, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday extended the remand in judicial custody of Biju Salim. He was produced before the court on Tuesday as his seven-day remand was to expire on Tuesday. The court will take up his application for bail on Wednesday.

The police told the court that Biju Salim had taken part in a secret meeting of a religious organization held in Kozhikode. They also said that he had organized a ‘fake’ medical certificate with the help of a doctor to conceal this from the authorities. The court had already been told that the controversy could have extremist connections.

The police had earlier told the court that Biju had long-standing connections with banned extremist outfits and that he had indulged in conspiracy, leading to the email surveillance scandal. Biju was suspended on January 24 and a case against him was registered on February 3.

As per the Madhyamam report, A Hemachandran, then ADGP (Intelligence), had on November 3, 2011 instructed the Hi-Tech Crime Inquiry Cell, a wing of the Kerala Police specializing in tracking of digital and electronic communications, to monitor the emails of 258 Muslims and ten others.

The basis of the report was a letter (leaked to the media) reportedly written by a Superintendent of Police to email service providers asking them for the account details of several personalities and institutions to check for their alleged SIMI connections.

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