Mankotia Asks Himachal Govt To Clear Air Over Virbhadra Audio CD

Shimla: Having failed to nail the issues that surfaced after an old audio tape allegedly containing the voice of union steel minister Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and deceased bureaucrat Mohinder Lal were made public by Vijay Singh Mankotia just before a crucial bye-election in 2007, the former minister under an RTI plea has asked the government to clear the air.

Mankotia told My Himachal News that he had asked the government to disclose the Chandigarh forensic laboratory voice match report as well as the secretary law opinion regarding the contents of an audio tape that I had made public and submitted to the police.

“I have been compelled to exercise my right to information as the government is keeping the issue under garbs,” said Mankotia. “I’m only in search of the truth and would seek a narco-analysis and brain mapping of all the persons whose voice is on record in those tapes,” he added.

A week before poll day to the Hamirpur parliamentary bye-election in May 2007, in which Prem Kumar Dhumal was the BJP candidate and Thakur Ram Lal the congress candidate, Mankotia, then a dissent congress leader had played an audio tape before media persons in Dharmshala.

The recorded conversation is said to have been an old one but Mankotia had claimed that Virbhadra Singh and his wife can be heard discussing illegal money transactions with a former bureaucrat.

Subsequently CD copies of the tape were played and distributed during the election and Mankotia stood expelled congress.

Virbhadra had then rubbished the allegations levelled, saying it was ‘a doctored tape’. The issue was taken to court and the High Court had passed a restraining order debarring any public broadcasting of the material contained in the tape.

However, SM Katwal, a former chairman of state subordinate service selection board (SSB), in a separate petition had urged the court to have the matter investigated in order to authenticate the voice contained in the recorded conversation.

Katwal, who has been convicted in a case pertaining to functioning of the SSB, in his plea had also sought to know as to how the contents had got to Mankotia.

The issue is still before the courts even as the police had got a forensic voice match test conducted and had sought legal opinion about registering a case in the matter.

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