Virbhadra Singh questions Himachal probe into CDs

Shimla, March 3 (IANS) Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was booked in 2009 on the basis of an audio CD where he was heard talking money, Wednesday accused the Himachal Pradesh government of double standards while conducting investigations into an audio CD which allegedly has Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s voice on it.

‘After two audio CDs (both allegedly containing voices of Dhumal and one containing the voice of vigilance chief D.S. Manhas) have been received by the investigating agencies, why are different standards of investigations being adopted,’ Singh said in a statement here.

Singh was booked Aug 3, 2009, on the basis of an audio CD released in 2007 in which he was heard talking about monetary transactions over phone with former IAS officer Mahinder Lal, who is now dead. At that time Singh was the chief minister of the state.

In a role reversal, the two audio CDs circulating since January allegedly have Dhumal apparently directing Manhas to tap the phones of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh.

‘When I claimed that the CD allegedly containing my voice is fabricated, the government decided to send the CD to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Chandigarh with specific question as to whether particular sentence extracted from the CD was in my voice or not…But when the CDs containing voices of Dhumal and Manhas surfaced, the pointed question being asked by the same investigating agency from the CFSL is whether the CD was edited or not.’

Virbhadra Singh said the investigating agency was not inclined to verify the voices of Dhumal and Manhas.

‘I ask a simple question. Whether the investigating agencies are acting fairly or are they more interested in tailor-made answers from the CFSL?’ he asked.

The opposition Congress has already given a call attention motion on the phone tapping issue during the ongoing budget session of the state assembly.

‘We want a full debate on the issue,’ state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur said.

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