Trouble for Sachin Pilot and his rebel MLAs have mounted after the Rajasthan Police filed criminal complaints against the rebel Congress MLA, Bhanwarlal Sharma, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and BJP leader Sanjay Jain. This was after an audiotape of an alleged conversation between the rebel Congress MLA and the BJP leader discussing bribes to bring down the Congress government headed by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot went viral. Janta Ka Reporter cannot vouch for the audiotape’s authenticity.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reports on Friday that the development was ‘a black day for democracy.’ He said, “There should be a Special Operations Group (SOG) investigation into the poaching attempts. An FIR should be registered against Sharma and Sanjay Jain.”
The Congress on Friday announced that it had suspended both Sharma and another Congress MLA, Vishwendra Singh, for striking a deal with the BJP to topple an elected government. A report by NDTV said that the Rajasthan Police arrived on Friday at two posh resorts in Manesar in Haryana, where rebel MLAs belonging to Pilot’s camp are staying.
In the viral audiotape, Sharma is heard discussing money to bring down the Gehlot government. The MLA from Sardarshaha (Churu), however, has denied allegations saying that it wasn’t his voice in the audiotape.
केंद्रीय मंत्री गजेंद्र सिंह शेखावत और #SachinPailot खेमे के विधायक भंवर लाल शर्मा के बीच जयपुर के संजय जैन के माध्यम से बातचीत का ऑडियो वायरल। 30 विधायकों की संख्या शीघ्र पूरी होने और सरकार के घुटने टिकाने की बातचीत। लेन-देन का भी जिक्र। #RajasthanPolitics #GehlotVsPilot pic.twitter.com/ByFBRtIqLq
— Avadhesh Akodia (@avadheshjpr) July 16, 2020
Union Minister Shekhawat too has denied allegations. “It is not my voice. I don’t know which Sanjay Jain they are talking about. I know many people in that name. If I had talked to someone, my number should be there. You can conduct a probe. I am ready for an investigation,” he was quoted by Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High has been hearing a petition filed by Pilot and other rebel MLAs against the state assembly Speaker’s notices warning of their disqualification for indulging in anti-party activities. Pilot has hired Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi as their lawyers. While Salve was the Solicitor General during the BJP government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rohatgi was appointed the Attorney General of India soon after Narendra Modi became the prime minister in 2014.
The Rajasthan High Court has adjourned the hearing on the petition filed by Sachin Pilot camp till Monday, 20 July. The Rajasthan Assembly Speaker, according to Livelaw website, has been directed to not take any decision on the disqualification notices till 5 PM, 21 July.