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Updated: January 20, 2010 12:53 IST

Dhumal orders probe into phone tapping CD

IANS
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Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Photo: V.V.Krishnan
The Hindu Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Wednesday ordered a probe into an audio CD in which he is purportedly heard directing the vigilance chief to tap the phones of Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh.

The audio CD was one of three CDs sent to select journalists, legislators and high court judges on Tuesday. While the first had a man who sounded like Mr. Dhumal instructing that the phones be tapped, the second has the chief minister purportedly talking about former union ministers Sukh Ram and Shanta Kumar.

The third was a video CD allegedly shows BJP MP Virender Kashyap accepting cash regarding the grant of permission to an educational institute in the state.

“I ordered an inquiry this (Wednesday) morning to look into the authenticity of the audio CDs. The CID (Criminal Investigation Department) will conduct the inquiry within a timeframe,” Mr. Dhumal told IANS over phone. “If the CD is not authentic, the CID will find out who is behind the entire episode. It’s simple a cut-and-paste job and the CDs were fabricated with some ulterior motive,” he said.

On the video CD showing BJP MP Kashyap, the chief minister said: “During the last parliamentary elections, someone gave a packet to Mr. Kashyap. When he opened the packet, there was some cash in it and he reported the matter to police. That case is already under investigation.”

In the alleged conversation recorded in the audio CD, Director General of Police (Vigilance) D.S. Manhas asks Mr. Dhumal about tapping the phones of Virbhadra Singh and his wife. At this, a voice sounding like Mr. Dhumal is heard replying: “Do it.”

Former chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife were booked in August last year under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijay Singh Mankotia in 2007.

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