A senior Himachal Pradesh minister Thursday said there was no justification in demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal following the release of CDs allegedly showing him ordering phone-tapping, and accused the Congress of indulging in "politics of mudslinging".
"The opposition’s (Congress) demand for resignation of the chief minister (on the basis of two audio CDs purportedly having his voices) is ridiculous," Forest Minister J.P. Nadda told reporters here.
The CDs – two audio and one video – were sent to select journalists, legislators and high court judges Tuesday. While the audio CDs allegedly had Dhumal instructing the phone tap and talking about former union ministers Sukh Ram and Shanta Kumar, the video CD showed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Virender Kashyap allegedly accepting cash for the grant of permission to an educational institute in the state.
"Dhumal himself has ordered a CID (Criminal Investigation Department) inquiry into it and he has even clarified that if there is further need, the investigation could be handed over to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)," Nadda said, adding that "at this point in time the CID probe is sufficient".
On the Congress demand for the resignation of the BJP MP, the minister said: "Kashyap has been the victim of a conspiracy."
"The Congress has double standards. When it was in power (in the state from 2003 to 2008), its own chief minister (Virbhadra Singh) refused to resign after a former member of his cabinet released a CD containing his conversations pertaining to money deals. Not only that, he (Singh) did not even find it a fit case for conducting any probe," the minister said.
The Congress decided to submit a memorandum to the governor Friday demanding the CBI probe into the entire episode.
"We will submit a memorandum to the president through the governor for a CBI probe into the audio CDs, in which Dhumal is purportedly heard directing the vigilance chief to tap the phones of Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife," state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur told IANS.
"Moreover, their MP was caught on camera taking cash over getting clearance of land transaction from the state cabinet," he said.
In the alleged conversation recorded in the audio CD, Director General of Police (Vigilance) D.S. Manhas is asking Dhumal about tapping the phones of Virbhadra Singh and his wife. At this, a voice allegedly of Dhumal is heard replying: "Do it."
Former chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife were booked Aug 3, 2009, under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of an audio CD released by his political rival Vijay Singh Mankotia in 2007.
The five-time former chief minister has been saying that the present BJP government is vindictive and settling scores with the opposition Congress by registering false and frivolous cases.
He has also alleged several times that the state government has been tapping his phones.
–Indo-Asian News Service