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India Parliament adjourns after mobile phone tapping claims

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Concerns that an Indian security agency was tapping the mobile phones of politicians have forced the adjournment of the country's parliament, the BBC reports.

Reports by Outlook that phone calls made by politicians, including federal agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, were being intercepted sparked angry scene in both the upper and lower houses. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Communist politician Prakash Karat, and ruling Congress party boss Digvijay Singh also had their phones tapped, The Daily Telegraph adds.

The bugging was allegedly carried out by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) intelligence agency without a court-issued warrant and at the behest of government ministers.

India's Home Minister, P Chidambaram, dismissed the reports. "No telephone tapping or eavesdropping on political leaders was authorized by the previous or present Congress-led UPA government," Chidambaram said, the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, this denial that failed to placate senior member of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who are calling for a parliamentary inquiry. Other politicians called for an update to India's outdated communication interception and surveillance laws. ®

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