More than a week has passed since the deputy Chief Minister of the state, Chandrakant Babu Kavlekar, filed a formal police complaint before the Cyber police station claiming that his phone was hacked, and the ‘miscreants’ shared a pornographic video to a WhatsApp group ‘Villagers of Goa’ while he was fast asleep. To date, no progress has been made in this case, as the cyber police team appears to be clueless rather, in the alleged hacking of the leaders’ phone.
The issue has garnered widespread criticism from citizens across the state, while the opposition political parties have arisen to make the best of this incident to attack the government and the deputy CM in particular.
The deputy chief minister, no doubt has filed a police complaint, but many argue that he has done the same to display his innocence and to brush himself away from the incident. A valid argument put forward by almost many sections of the people we spoke to, suggested that if the leader’s phone was genuinely hacked, why have the police authorities failed to track down on the suspect/s in the case, or at least get some progress into the same.
Furthermore, the Cyber police to date have not divulged any information on the progress of the case. With them being tight-lipped, a growing discontent is evolving as people are raising apprehensions if the deputy Chief Minister Kavlekar’s phone was actually hacked, or the leader himself was indulging in such activity of sharing obscene material through social platforms such as that of WhatsApp.
Under the Information Technology Act, sharing of pornographic material in electronic form is a criminal offense, and many argue, that if Kavlekar’s phone was not hacked, doesn’t that make the deputy CM very much a culprit in this crime?
A theory of a possible conspiracy in the case is surfacing, with many questioning the veracity of the police complaint filed by the Deputy CM. Questions are being raised on the role of the police, in particular the cyber cell, in dealing with the case.
“Police have all the powers to crack all types of cases, however, in such instances, political interference hinders police from working in an effective manner. Police should be independent,” said a local resident, adding that the complaint filed by the deputy chief minister won’t gain any progress because it is a fake complaint.
“How will the police investigate if no hacking occurred? Police are now clueless about who to take action against. Although, now that a complaint is filed, the police should take some sort of action and find the culprit. If Babu (Kavlekar) is the culprit, strict action should be taken as per the law,” he said.
Besides police inaction, critical points about the minister being in power, and possible threats of confidential information being leaked out by the so-called ‘hackers’ were also voiced out by some.
“He is the deputy CM, and although he complaints of hacking, which is very highly questionable, the leader should also disclose if other information from his mobile phone was tampered with, or taken away by the hackers if he claims his phone was genuinely hacked,” said a local.
“If it was genuinely hacked, the cyber police by now are professional enough to investigate and find the culprit. The fact that they can’t find any leads to a date in the case, that too for a case from the ranks of the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, it surely does imply that something is not right. If it is him (who shared the clip), and he has filed a complaint just to evade himself from the blame, it sets a very wrong example for a leader,” said Grace Rodrigues, a local resident.
Cecille Rodrigues opined that although the private life of a person should be respected, such sharing of obscene material on a public platform was definitely wrong. She also added that claiming his phone was hacked was a very ‘stupid’ argument to put forward by the leader.
“For him to say that someone hacked his phone is a total lie. I’m sure it may have happened by mistake, but he should have admitted his mistake and made an apology. This would have been a better answer, and everyone would know he is talking facts. Mistakes do happen by humans, but for him to say someone hacked his phone was complete stupidity. Looking forward to him apologizing would have been a better approach than he making a mockery of himself,” she said.
She also highlighted that if the deputy CM was concrete on the argument that his phone was hacked, he should provide his phone for forensic analysis, she said. “I’m sure he has a phone that is secure with some passwords, so whoever knows it, is the culprit. This investigation will not carry forward, because you can’t find the culprit in this. Simply putting a case for investigation is no solution. The deputy CM is just pretending because he himself leaked it,” Cecille added.
What does The Opposition say About The “Hack”?
Political parties in the opposition have attacked the deputy CM, along with the ruling BJP government, with some even asking for the deputy’s resignation until investigation in the case progresses to some logical end.
“BJP Goa is unfolding all the standard elements on a third-rate Hindi masala movie. Corruption, nepotism, lies, money laundering, drugs, and now, sex scandal. BJP Goa is too dirty beyond remorse. Nothing less than a silent and prompt resignation until proven not guilty is the only honorable way for Dy. CM Chandrakant Baby Kavlekar. But, can we expect it? Will Goa CM demands it?” independent Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte asked.
Other political leaders, besides condemning the incident, have also raised questions about whether the deputy chief minister is using the state’s police machinery as a cover-up for his mistake.
“When the deputy CM complains of his phone getting hacked, and the police cannot find any evidence or breakthrough in this case, then it shows that the Goa police is ineffective. The night it happened, where was Babu and who was with him. No answers have been given on this (by the Dy.CM or the police). They know the results of this incident; hence they are not doing any investigation. They should find answers to the complaint, and if they can’t, they should tell why also they aren’t giving answers,” said a Congress party representative.
The Aam Aadmi Party, meanwhile, has been at the forefront of strong statements against the leader, and the BJP party with regards to this incident.
“Babu Kavlekar has filed a complaint stating that somebody hacked into his phone and forwarded this extremely distasteful video. It must be noted that under 67 of the IT Act, the sharing of obscene material is a crime and is punishable with imprisonment. Was his phone actually hacked, or was it (obscene video) sent by the deputy chief minister itself,” AAP’s women’s representative Melisa said.
“If it is genuinely sent by the deputy chief minister, then in that case it is a big crime and action needs to be taken,” she added.
The Goa Forward Party, meanwhile, had condemned the incident a few days earlier and had demanded action against Babu Kavlekar by the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Clara Rodrigues, General Secretary of the Goa Women Forward Party had said, “This video was very shocking and it has sent shockwaves around Goa, especially among the women of the state. Very distressing a video that too from the deputy chief minister of the state.”
Many representatives, including locals, have cited a unanimous opinion stating that the deputy chief minister is probably covering up for a mistake of his own. They have stated that the leader must come out and apologize, and avoid putting pressure on any police force for no reason.
Meanwhile, the Mahila group of the BJP party has been silent and has not made any officials claim about this incident.