Even as a government-appointed three-member committee is probing the veracity of the audio clips in which senior Maharashtra bureaucrat Radheshyam Mopalwar is purportedly heard discussing a financial matter, the man who had complained against Mopalwar has presented a report by a Delhi-based private forensic laboratory stating that the audio clips are not tampered or edited versions.
Complainant Satish Mangle, with whom Mopalwar’s alleged conversations had taken place, has presented the report to the three-member committee constituted by the Maharashtra government.
The report by a laboratory named Forensic Services states that the CD with the audio clips of multiple telephone calls is “not edited or tampered”. The report says there is “continuity in the waveform and frequency properties from starting point to ending point”.
Mopalwar has been on leave since August, when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis removed him from his post as vice-chairman and managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
The committee is awaiting the findings of the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) that is examining the voice samples it had sent for tests. Last month, voice samples of Mangle and Mopalwar were collected by the committee before two panchas (witnesses) and sent to the FSL. Mopalwar has reportedly told the committee that the tapes are doctored and that the voice on the audio clips is not his.
Mangle told The Sunday Express, “The committee has no investigative powers and therefore cannot send samples for testing to a government accredited forensic laboratory. I don’t know under which provisions of law they collected my voice samples and sent it to the Mumbai FSL. As I have reservations against the committee, I got the CD tested at a private forensic laboratory and have submitted the results to the committee and also to the state government.”
According to Mangle, between September 6 and 14, he was called by the committee on three different occasions to join in the investigations. “They told me that if I don’t join the investigation, they would mention the same in their report. As I had nothing to hide, I joined the probe. On September 9, when I went before the committee, I was searched. This was done to ensure that I am not wired. However, the committee has no powers to search me,” Mangle added.
Mangle has now written to the state government to revoke the Government Resolution announcing the formation of the committee and instead set up a statutory inquiry commission, “like in the case of the Adarsh scam”.
The committee, headed by former Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and comprising Additional Commissioner of Police RD Shinde and Deputy Commissioner of Police Parag Manere, has been convening meetings at its South Mumbai office.
The committee is in possession of over 35 unverified audio clips purported to be recordings of phone conversations of Mopalwar. In one clip, a voice, purportedly Mopalwar’s, is heard making a reference regarding money to be paid at the state secretariat. The committee is expected to submit its report by November 30.