The prime witness in the Virbhadra Singh CD case, Major Vijai Singh Mankotia, on Friday identified the voice samples of the former Union Minister and his wife Pratibha Singh after the original cassette was played in the court of Special Judge B. L. Soni.
Major Mankotia, who had earlier said in his statements that those were the apparent voices of Singh and his wife, said on Friday that “in my opinion and as a layman understands, the voices are of Mr. Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh”.
He also confessed that an anonymous caller had left a packet at his door containing the controversial cassette in the second week of May 2007 and that was revealed by him before the media on May 28, 2007. But he said he was unaware who changed the contents of the original cassette into hundreds of CDs being played all over the State.
He said the original cassette remained in his possession for at least a year before it was given to the police and finally to the CFS Laboratory, Chandigarh, on May 21, 2008.
Mr. Mankotia was leading a movement against corruption and facing suspension from the Congress when the matter of the controversial CD had cropped up. But recently, just before the Vidhan Sabha elections in the first week of this month he was re-admitted to the party and given Congress ticket to fight from his traditional constituency of Shahpur in Kangra.
He was even seen campaigning jointly with Mr. Virbhadra Singh for the party in the State.
Special Public Prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma said Major Mankotia has largely confirmed his earlier statements against Mr. Singh and his wife and he could not be called hostile in the court as he has not denied the main facts recorded by the investigating agency during the handing of the audio CD and cassette to the prosecution.
Major Mankotia’s statement before the court is significant as he has all along been insisting that telephonic conversations of monetary transactions were those of the couple and a bureaucrat.