Phone tapping by the country’s tax authorities may have created a major controversy, but the capital market watchdog Sebi is not authorised to intercept calls and is awaiting the government’s permission for years.

Only a select few enforcement agencies, including the tax department, are authorised to tap telephonic conversations in their investigations and surveillance actions and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has requested for its inclusion in this list several times over many years.

However, all its requests have been turned down so far, the last time being in December 2009, when the Department of Telecommunications communicated to Sebi that it was not authorised to tap phones, a senior official said.

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