Himachal CM ordered tap on Virbhadra`s phone, CD tells

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 11:31

Shimla: In another twist to the corruption cases against union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, a new audio compact disc (CD) from an unknown source is being circulated here in which Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is purportedly directing the vigilance chief to tap the phones of the couple.

Two other CDs were also released here -- one audio in which Dhumal was heard talking about former union ministers Sukh Ram and Shanta Kumar and the other video in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian Virender Kashyap was shown accepting some cash in regard to granting permission to an educational institute in the state.

In the alleged conversation recorded in the first CD, Director General of Police (Vigilance) DS Manhas asked Dhumal regarding Singh and his wife`s phone tapping. At this Dhumal replied: "Do it."

Manhas then said: "Yes, we will do it, we will do it. If the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) is doing it, its staff will leak it." Dhumal replied: "This is right."

Dhumal and Manhas allegedly also talked about some Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million).

However, a senior police official said there was no proof of the authenticity of the CD. "It is released when the vigilance is almost ready to start within a month the prosecution against Virbhadra Singh and his wife," he said.

The cases against Singh and his wife were registered Aug 3, 2009, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The complaint against Singh alleges misuse of his official position and criminal misconduct when he was the chief minister of the state in 1989.

Interestingly, they were booked on the basis of an audio CD released by Singh`s political adversary Vijay Singh Mankotia in 2007.

Meanwhile, Dhumal refuted the allegations in the new CD. He said on phone from Delhi Tuesday: "Right now I am not in the state. I have not seen the CD and not even heard about it. I am not in a position to comment on it."

"The government machinery is not involved in phone tapping of Singh and his wife. It`s just a white lie," he added.

The CD that showed BJP parliamentarian Virender Kashyap talking to someone on the issue of granting permission to an educational institute in the state was recorded April 17, 2009 when Kashyap was only a party activist.

In the conversation, Kashyap was insisting and telling the person sitting opposite to him to first complete the formalities and then seek formal permission. The CD also showed Kashyap being offered some cash, which he hesitantly accepted.

However, Kashyap was not available for comments.

IANS



First Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 11:31

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