Virbhadra CD Case – Court reserves order over framing charges

Shimla: A trial court today reserved its order  for June 25 over whether charges are to be framed or dropped in the audio CD case involving union minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh.

After hearing out the defense lawyers arguments in the pre-trial, court of special judge BL Soni reserved its order till June 25 about framing charges in the case that has been made out on basis of an old telephone conversation recorded on a audio cassette.

Leading the defense team, noted legal hawk Rajinder Cheema disputed the authenticity and veracity of the cassette and its contents.

They contested that the case was frivolous one, registered on the basis of an audio cassette whose origin, source and authenticity were unknown. Moreover one of the persons, whose voice is claimed to be on the contentious tape in not even alive, the defense maintained.

It is cut and paste job which could not be treated as legally admissible evidence the defense argued holding that the police had presented a concocted version and no case for framing of charges could be made out, said Shrawan Dogra, who is part of the defense team in the case.

Prosecution dismissed the defense argument of the tape being a fabricated or cut and paste job by pointing to a report from Chandigarh base Central Forensic Science Laboratory that after doing a voice match had authentic the voices in the taped conversation to be that of Virbhadra Singh and his wife

Besides the lab report, public prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma also brought to the courts notice a signed statement by former bureaucrat Mahinder Lal, now deceased, which is part of the case file and was given to the investigation team about the authenticity of conversations recorded on tape.

After having presenting evidence, prosecution held that there was sufficient material on record to prosecute Virbhadra Singh and his wife under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” said Sharma.

Relying on the contents of the audio cassette first played before media persons by Major Vijay Singh Mankotia in June 2007 (CD copies of which were later publically distributed), a case was registered by the vigilance bureau in 2009 in which Virbhadra and his wife were named as accused.

Recordings on the cassette are allegedly said to contain phone conversations of Virbhadra and his wife, talking to deceased bureaucrat Mohinder Singh, about illegal money dealing with some industrialists during the late 1989 and early 1990 period.

After having completed the investigation in the case, the prosecution filed the charge sheet before the trail court in October, 2010.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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