Retired Gujarat High Court judge Sugnyaben K Bhatt and KC Kapoor, former Additional Chief Secretary of the state, will be part of the inquiry panel which has been asked to submit its report within three months.

"We have formed a commission to inquire into the allegations of security provided to the young woman," state Finance Minister Nitin Patel said.

Modi, who is BJP prime ministerial candidate, has come under sharp attack from Congress which had asked BJP to rethink his nomination and demanded a CBI inquiry.

Modi's detractors, including suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, had tried to corner the CM alleging that the phone of the woman was being tapped illegally at his behest and the announcement today is seen as a damage control exercise.

"After considering all aspects of the case, the state government has decided to get the matter inquired in the larger public interest to gather, assimilate and establish the truth,” Nitin Patel said.

"Thus, the Government of Gujarat has constituted a two-member Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiries Act, 1952 to inquire into and report on the said incident(s)," a Gujarat government statement said.

It said the panel has been appointed in the wake of reports in the media about some audio tapes made public by Cobrapost and about "alleged incident(s) of security/surveillance of a woman in the State of Gujarat in 2009". The tapes show purported conversations between the then Minister of State for Home in Gujarat Amit Shah giving orders to IPS officer GL Singhal to snoop on a woman architect.

Shah, a close aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is reportedly heard saying his "Saheb" wants that an eye be kept on the woman. It was alleged that he was referring to Modi.

The woman's father issued a statement that he had asked Modi to give protection to his daughter and that she was not being stalked by the police. He has also written to the National Commission for Women asking it not to probe the matter as there is no case of stalking here.

Suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma had in a petition to the Supreme Court said the reasons for his "victimization" by Gujarat government were his "knowledge of the intimacy shared by Modi with the young lady architect, who worked in Bangalore, but was originally from Bhuj in Gujarat".

Today, representatives from four political parties, including Congress and social activists submitted a petition to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking a judicial inquiry into the controversy.

BJP had rejected the allegations saying the father of the girl had sought protection for her from the Chief Minister.


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