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Shanti Bhushan lodges police complaint over CD

Staff Reporter
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Making a point: Prashant Bhushan (left) and Arvind Kejriwal, civil society activists and members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee, addressing the media in Noida on Friday, a day before the committee's first meeting. PHOTO: PTI
Making a point: Prashant Bhushan (left) and Arvind Kejriwal, civil society activists and members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee, addressing the media in Noida on Friday, a day before the committee's first meeting. PHOTO: PTI

The Delhi Police have registered a case against an unknown person for allegedly fabricating a telephonic conversation of defamatory nature among Shanti Bhushan, former Union Law Minister and now co-chairman of the joint committee to draft the proposed Lokpal Bill, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and its former general secretary Amar Singh.

The case has been registered under Section 469 of the Indian Penal Code (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) at the IP Estate police station here.

“Contents defamatory”

In his complaint, Mr. Bhushan said a journalist from The Indian Express met him on Wednesday night and showed him a compact disc purportedly containing a recorded telephonic conversation among him, Mr. Mulayam Singh and Mr. Amar Singh.

The journalist told Mr. Bhushan that the CD had been delivered at the newspaper's office anonymously. “The CD is clearly fabricated as I have never had any conversation with these persons. The contents are defamatory in nature. It appears that the CD has been fabricated in order to malign me,” said Mr. Bhushan in his complaint.

“Case of conspiracy”

“The journalist did not leave the CD with me, but it must be there in the newspaper office. This is clearly an offence of forgery under Section 469 of the IPC. Further, it is apparent that several persons are involved in this fabrication and therefore, it is a clear case of conspiracy also under Section 120 B of the IPC,” said Mr. Bhushan.

In a press statement on Friday, Mr. Bhushan said he had never spoken to Mr. Amar Singh.While investigations have been initiated to identify the person(s) involved, the police are also trying to obtain the CD containing the purported conversation. “We will approach the newspaper office in this regard,” said a police officer.

PTI adds: At a press conference in Noida on Friday, civil rights activists Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal alleged that a “concerted smear” campaign has been launched against them to benefit the corrupt people.

Bhushan Jr. said a CD implicating his father Shanti Bhushan purportedly having conversations with political leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh was “fabricated” after splicing various conversations on corruption in judiciary, H. R. Bharadwaj and PILs done by him.

‘Not a new tape'

Mr. Amar Singh said: “This is not a new tape. This is not a new incident. This is a selective leak at a selective time.”

“In my eyes it is fake. I respect Shanti Bhushan. I am not blaming him. I don't play with law,” he said, adding he wanted to know who is behind the tape.

He also said while Prashant Bhushan dismisses his claim of fabrication relating to a CD involving him (Amar Singh), the lawyer was now making a claim of fabrication when it comes to him.

On the eve of the first meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who chairs the joint panel held a meeting with four members of the committee from the government side -- Home Minister P. Chidambaram, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid, all lawyers.

On the issue of video-graphing the meeting, Mr. Prashant Bhushan and Mr. Kejriwal said they will raise the issue with the committee.

Live telecast

“We do not mind even the live telecast of the proceedings but that cannot be possible. If not video-recording, at least there should be audio recording so that it is available for people,” Mr. Prashant Bhushan said, adding that important proceedings were recorded in other countries.

Asked about Anna Hazare's statement that the Lokpal will not cover higher judiciary, Mr. Kejriwal said they would argue for including the Chief Justice of India under the ambit of Lokpal. “Mr. Hazare has earlier said that Chief Justice should not be under Lokpal. But in a meeting today (Friday), we decided that when Prime Minister is sought to be included in the Lok Pal why not not Chief Justice of India. We will ask the panel to look into it. There is no question of excluding judiciary,” he said.

Mr. Kejriwal said only criminal misconduct by the judges is being sought to be probed under the Lokpal Bill and not professional misconduct.

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