The Commission, to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, will also look into charges of snooping on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh by the previous BJP government when he was in the opposition as well as the leaking of the Call Data Records(CDR) of BJP leader Arun Jaitley in Delhi.
     
Brushing aside opposition from BJP and the Gujarat government, the Union Cabinet took the decision under the Commissions of Inquiry Act under which the Modi government has already set up a similar panel.

Cong hails setting up of inquiry commission

"The Cabinet has approved a proposal to set up a Commission of Inquiry under Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, to look into the incidents of physical/electronic surveillance in the states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, allegedly without authorisation," an official release said.
     
The BJP slammed the decision, saying it smacks of political vindictiveness and a witch-hunt targeting its Prime Ministerial candidate while indicating it will be challenged in court for "violation" of Centre-State ties.
     
Addressing a press conference, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde rejected charges of political vendetta and said there have been constant demands to the Central government over the last one-and-a-half months for a probe into the Gujarat snoopgate.

Centre’s decision to probe snoopgate will be challenged in court: BJP

"There is no vendetta, no revenge, no politics. We are taking action on the basis of facts and following the people's representations sent to the President. We are taking action as per people's wish," he said.
      
Shinde also said a delegation of 47 women had met President Pranab Mukherjee and given representations demanding a probe ino the Gujarat snoopgate.
      
The Central Commission is likely to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge and will be asked to submit its report within three months, official sources said.
 
The Centre's decision overrules the contention of the Gujarat government that the matter was a state subject and that it has already appointed a Commission to probe it.
    
 The Union Cabinet's decision came against the backdrop of fresh claims that the alleged snooping was conducted beyond the state of Gujarat.
    
 The controversy broke out more than a month ago when two news portals released CDs of purported telephonic conversations between Modi aide and the then Gujarat Home
Minister Amit Shah and two top state police officials relating to snooping on a woman.
      
The conversations, purportedly between August and September 2009, do not specifically mention Modi by name but refers to a "saheb", which the portals claimed was the Gujarat Chief Minister at whose instance the snooping was done.

(Agencies)

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