The BJP on Saturday called for a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe to determine if the Congress government in Rajasthan had illegally tapped phones of politicians’ in the state.
The party also demanded to know if SOP (standard operating procedure) had been followed before taping political leaders’ phones or if the Ashok Gehlot government in the state, which is on the brink of collapse following open revolt by Sachin Pilot, had scrambled to “save themselves when cornered”.
Hitting out at “a saga of illegalities and concocted lies”, the BJP asked at a press conference today: “These are serious questions that we want to ask the Congress high command and Ashok Gehlot. Was phone taping done? Assuming that you taped phones, was SOP followed?”
The people of Rajasthan want to know if their privacy has been compromised, the party declared.
The BJP’s hue and cry over “unconstitutional’ actions come a day after the Congress said audio clips revealed that rebel MLAs from its party were plotting with the BJP against the state government.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said one of the voices was that of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the other was the Congress’s Bhanwar Lal Sharma.
NDTV cannot verify the authenticity of these tapes, and both Mr Sharma and Shekhawat have said it is not their voices.
The Congress demanded that allegations of collusion between rebel MLAs and the BJP be investigated by the Rajasthan Police Special Operation Group (SOG), which reports to Chief Minister Gehlot.
The SOG filed two FIRs shortly after Mr Surjewala’s press conference, one of which was for sedition. The Congress has called for the arrest of Mr Sharma.
Meanwhile, the BJP’s Laxmikant Bhardwaj has filed a complaint against several Congress leaders, including Mr Surjewala, for associating Mr Shekhawat’s name with the clip.
Ashook Gehlot had ordered an investigation during last month’s Rajya Sabha election after he accused the BJP of plotting with rebel MLAs to destabilise his government.
Sachin Pilot rubbished such rumours, pointing out that the Congress had won two of three seats on offer.
The simmering feud between the two exploded shortly after, when Mr Pilot received a summons over the alleged conspiracy. Claims Mr Gehlot also received one were dismissed since the police reports to the Chief Minister, who also holds the Home Minister portfolio.
On Wednesday Mr Gehlot doubled down on those allegations, claiming that his former deputy “was himself doing the deal“.
With input from PTI