Shimla: An anti corruption court here today after handing over a certified copy of the contentious audio-cassette that purportedly contains the voice of union minister Virbhadra Singh talking over phone to a bureaucrat (now deceased) about illegal money matters to the defense counsel posted the case for May 31.
“The court listed the matter for hearing on consideration of charges for May 31,” said public prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma.
The case before Special Judge (anti-corruption), BL Soni at the last hearing had directed State Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau to produce the original audio cassette in court. The court had further directed that a copy of the cassette be handed over to the accused.
On basis of the audio cassette played before media persons by Major Vijay Singh Mankotia in June 2007 (CD copies of which were later distributed), a case was registered by the vigilance bureau in 2009 in which Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh have been name as accused.
During investigation, Mankotia handed over the original audio-cassette to the investigators, who got a voice match and originality of the recorded content certified from Central Forensic Lab, Chandigarh.
As to the source of the cassette, Mankotia is said to have claimed that some anonymous person dropped the material at his house.
Voices recorded on the cassette are said to contain phone conversations of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh talking to former bureaucrat Mohinder Singh (now deceased) about illegal money matters from some industrialists during the late 1989 and early 1990 period.
The cassette is part of the evidence that investigators are relying upon to press corruption charges against Virbhadra Singh and his wife.
Based on the transcripts of cassette, with the recorded voice on it certified by the Chandigarh lab, vigilance has filed a challan in court in Oct, 2010.
The union minister is contesting that the voice on the cassettes has been fabricated and has sought quashing of the very case – a plea that the HP High Court has turned down twice.