Updated: September 15, 2021 7:06:27 am
THE rift within the Rajasthan Congress played out in the open again Tuesday as its Chaksu MLA, Ved Prakash Solanki, a loyalist of former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, claimed he had filed a police complaint earlier this year after receiving inappropriate video calls on WhatsApp but no FIR had been registered by the police.
The BJP seized on Solanki’s statement, accusing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of harassing those within the Congress who were opposed to him.
Among the most vocal MLAs in the Pilot camp, Solanki has been in the cross-hairs of the Gehlot side over the Congress losing the Jaipur zila pramukh seat to the BJP recently despite being in a majority in the parishad.
Addressing a press conference here, Solanki said: “Aise shadyantra to pichhle kai mahinon se chal rahe hain. Kai mahinon se kai-kai tarike hain, aarop, pratyarop, aur to aur, aise kai videos… Mahilayen pichhe lagaate hain…video bhejte hain… iss tarike se… mahilayen blackmail karti hain (Such conspiracies have been happening since the past several months. There are many ways, allegations, counter-allegations, several such videos… Women are asked to come after you… they send videos… blackmail).”
In his complaint at the Bajaj Nagar Police Station in Jaipur, on January 26, Solanki claimed to have received a suspicious video call two days earlier. In the complaint, he wrote, “(In the video call) a girl was behaving inappropriately… From her actions it appears to me that this is a conspiracy to defame me.”
Till date, a case hasn’t been registered, Solanki said Tuesday. “It’s just that we are alert.”
Asked if he suspected efforts to trap him, he said, “They can do anything. Awaaz ko dabane ke liye kuchch bhi ho sakta hai (They can do anything. Anything can happen to suppress voices).”
Police admitted receiving a complaint from Solanki and said investigations were being conducted. “Prima facie, the committing of a crime couldn’t be established and that is why an FIR was not registered in the matter,” Ajay Pal Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur, said.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jaipur East, issued a statement saying that there had been just one call from the mobile number concerned, and the address of the person to whom that number belonged to was found to be wrong. The officer also said that Solanki’s statement had been recorded in April, and they were still probing the matter.
Solanki was among the 18 Pilot loyalist MLAs who camped with him in Delhi and Haryana last year for more than a month, resulting in the political crisis in Rajasthan.
In June this year, Solanki said Congress MLAs in the state feared their phones were tapped. A month later, he said that if the issues raised by the Pilot camp were not addressed, they would once again go to Delhi seeking a solution from the high command.
Following the loss of the Jaipur zila pramukh post to the BJP, Congress MLA Govind Ram Meghwal, who oversaw the election process, had blamed Solanki, alleging he was behind the cross-voting that caused the Congress the post.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Solanki denied the allegation while adding that Meghwal had no idea about the local Congress leadership and that it was he who had been in the BSP and BJP before joining the Congress.
Attacking Gehlot, BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani said: “The Chief Minister can go to any extent to harass his rivals. Earlier, he had called his former party president as ‘nakara, ‘nikamma’.”
Devnani called efforts to “honeytrap” Solanki, as alleged by him, “condemnable”. “I think the Congress high command is responding to Sachin Pilot. That is why, his team members are being harassed.”
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