"There is a clear conspiracy on the part of some people which appears to have the blessings of many powerful people in the country"

Barely a day after the first meeting of the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill, the process has come under stress with the civil society members on the panel alleging a “clear conspiracy” to not only derail the anti-corruption movement but also to subvert the judicial process in two sensitive matters including the 2G scam.

Suspecting the government's role in the “conspiracy,” drafting committee member Prashant Bhushan said here on Sunday that if any Minister (of the joint panel) was involved “then there could certainly be a problem.”

Asserting that the CD purportedly carrying conversation between Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh and his father Shanti Bhushan, co-chairman of the panel, was “fabricated and doctored,” Mr. Prashant Bhushan declared that he would file contempt of court case in the matter.

“There is a clear conspiracy on the part of some people which appears to have the blessings of many powerful people in the country,” he said, seeking a SIT inquiry to “go into the root of the conspiracy and fabrication.”

Addressing a joint press conference with Right to Information activist Arvind Kejriwal, Mr. Prashant Bhushan charged Mr. Amar Singh with being involved in the CD issue. “This is forgery with intent to defame. This CD is designed to interfere in the judicial process in two important cases pending in the Supreme Court which amounts to contempt of court. In the CD, Mr. Amar Singh is purported to have made a reference to a judge who is heading the Bench which has heard and reserved judgments in the Amar Singh tapes as well as the case challenging the legality of the 2G licences, both handled by me.”

They said that the manner in which a senior Congress leader (Digvijay Singh) was levelling charges against them seemed to suggest that politicians and corporate forces were behind the attempt to derail the case for cancelling the 2G licences. “The pressure is so that the Lokpal Bill is derailed and the concerned judge recuses himself from the cases,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

“The manner in which two newspapers have come out with stories to say that the CD was authentic seems to suggest that the media is a part of the conspiracy,” Mr. Prashant Bhushan alleged.

The Bhushans had got the CD verified in a United States lab as well as a reputed lab in Hyderabad both of whom had opined that “the said CD had discontinuities which showed that the recording is not authentic and valid representation of an original conversation.” The present CD carried the same piece of conversation that Mr. Mulayam Singh purportedly had with Mr. Amar Singh in the 2006 CDs which are now part of a court case.

Mr. Prashant Bhushan played the CD in the press conference to prove his point. Mr. Shanti Bhushan had never met Mr. Amar Singh, so the question of sitting next to him as suggested in the CD did not arise, he said.

He also came down heavily on the police. “The newspaper that had received the CD was not cooperating with the police, who in turn had not been able to get hold of it in the last four days since a complaint was filed,” he said.

Reacting to the allegation, Mr. Amar Singh told The Hindu: “When it came to his [2006] tapes they were authentic, but when it came to Mr. Shanti Bhushan, Prashant says that the tapes are fabricated. I am not saying that the tapes are genuine. But the reputation of the father and son is at stake. On a mere allegation, Mr. Sharad Pawar resigned from the EGoM on corruption. Let Mr. Shanti Bhushan and Mr. Prashant Bhushan resign from the joint drafting panel and show that they love the cause more than the chair.”

Social activist Anna Hazare said the issue of the CD was “bogus” and it was an attempt to derail the Lokpal Bill. “If he is [Shanti Bhushan] guilty he should be punished, but if he is not, is someone trying to sully his reputation?”

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