A political controversy is brewing in Himachal Pradesh after an audio CD purportedly containing the telephonic conversations of Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur with a close businessman friend and a woman surfaced last week.
The 45-minute duration CD contains the conversations from 2012 when Thakur was the Pradesh Congress Committee president.
Questioning the authenticity of the CD, Thakur – who is also a CM aspirant – demanded registration of a criminal case and also a probe to find-out source of the CD which he alleged was being circulated as part of high-level conspiracy to tarnish his image.
Ruling out his resignation from the Virbhadra Singh cabinet, Thakur said the CD must be a false one. “It’s a cheap, cowardly and most shameful act aimed at my character assassination. I am not going to take it lying low. Since there has been a continuous bias and prejudice against me, despite by clean record of 40 years in politics, I will confront the people behind it”, the minister said without naming the Chief Minister Singh.
Thakur named senior IPS officer A P Singh and an IGP-rank officer – currently posted as Resident Commissioner in New Delhi – as brains behind the circulation of the CD. Singh had headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which was setup in 2013 to investigate a telephone tapping case relating to the previous BJP regime.
He said, “This morning I spoke to the Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar and asked him to initiate an inquiry by registering a criminal case against the individual who had posted the CD to newspaper officer from New Delhi. I know it must be a fake address and name, yet some action must follow as circulation of such material is an offense under the Indian Telegraph Act.”
Thakur said timing of the CD’s release was important as there have been reports that he was emerging as next strong contender for the Chief Minister’s post.
The health minister also said that he was removed from the PCC president’s post in 2012 under a political conspiracy as ‘few people’ had threatened to quit Congress and form a new party.
“I offered my resignation to Sonia Gandhi to avert a split in the party before 2012 polls . Now, after formation of the Congress, those people are trying to take sole credit for bringing the Congress to power,” he said.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh looked unfazed over the development and ruled out any inquiry. “An inquiry was conducted into telephone tapping done by the government. The case is in court,” he said, adding that the role of A P Singh could be looked into.