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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Chhattisgarh: Amit Jogi versus Bhupesh Baghel is now tape versus tape

On December 30, 2015, when The Indian Express published its first report, it mentioned it had received tapes of phone conversations about the Antagarh by-election.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | New Delhi |
Updated: January 12, 2016 8:22:00 am
antagarh bypoll fixed, congress leaders demand to cancel antagarh bypoll, antagarh bypoll canceled, bhupesh baghel, indian express report on antagarh bypoll, conspiracy behind antagarh bypoll, jogi Congress MLA Amit Jogi, son of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi, was suspended for six years from the party. (Source: PTI Photo)

It’s now tape versus tape in the deeply divided Congress in Chhattisgarh.

Days after state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel expelled MLA Amit Jogi and sought action against his father and former chief minister Ajit Jogi following a report in The Indian Express on purported conversations that suggested financial inducements could have been offered to make a Congress candidate withdraw from the Antagarh assembly by-election in 2014, another purported tape has been released.

Firoz Siddiqui, a former Jogi loyalist who last week retracted his admission that the voice in the purported conversations was his, released a tape Monday of another conversation he had with Baghel in which the latter asked him to hand over the recordings regarding Antagarh to The Indian Express.

WATCH VIDEO: The Chhattisgarh Tapes : Did Congress & BJP ‘Fix’?

“Reach The Indian Express office day after tomorrow afternoon, second half. Wahan denge na, to safer side wala ho gaya samjho (It will be safer if we give it there),” Baghel is heard saying on the tape.

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Both are discussing how Congress candidate Manturam Pawar was asked to withdraw at the last minute, and that if this information gets out, Jogi and his son Amit Jogi might face expulsion. Siddiqui is then heard saying on the tape that after this, his life will be under threat. At this point, Baghel assures him protection and a “maha mantri post”.

On December 30, 2015, when The Indian Express published its first report, it mentioned it had received tapes of phone conversations about the Antagarh by-election. The Indian Express contacted each person whose voice is purportedly heard in the tape and published their versions in the report.

Speaking to The Indian Express Monday, Baghel and Siddiqui admitted that the voices on the new tape is theirs.

Siddiqui said: “I recorded this (conversation with Baghel) to expose the manner political leaders are pulling each other down in Chhattisgarh. I conduct stings to expose dirty politics. Democracy is being murdered.”

Baghel said he acted in his party’s interest. “Everyone knew that the Antagarh by-election was managed. I obviously would like to bring it out. Hence, I assured Siddiqui that if he had such crucial information, he should bring it out and let it be published in the media. When he said his life would be threatened, I offered him full protection. I was working for the Congress,” he said.

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