Rajasthan phone tapping case: Delhi Police registers FIR on Shekhawat's complaint

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) The Delhi Police has registered an FIR in connection with the alleged phone tapping case in Rajasthan based on a complaint filed by Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, officials said on Friday.

The complaint by Shekhawat, who is the Union Jal Shakti minister, was filed at the Tughlaq Road police station last week against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's OSD Lokesh Sharma and others for alleged 'commission of offences of criminal conspiracy and unlawfully intercepting telegraphic signals (telephonic conversation)', they said. The phone tapping controversy erupted in July last year in Rajasthan during a political crisis due to the rebellion of former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs against Gehlot's leadership following which audio clips purportedly having telephonic conversation between Shekhawat and Congress leaders had surfaced.

Congress leaders of Gehlot's camp had then alleged that the BJP leaders were involved in horse trading to topple the state government.

Shekhawat is a BJP MP from Rajasthan's Jodhpur.

'We received a complaint at Tughlaq Road police station and it was transferred to the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police for further investigation,' a senior police officer said.

The officer said the FIR has been registered based on Shekhawat's complaint in which allegations have been levelled against Lokesh Sharma and others, adding that an an investigation is underway to ascertain their role in connection with the matter.

A Delhi Police official said based on the Union minister's complaint, an FIR was registered on Thursday under relevant section of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, other relevant sections of Information Technology Act and section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) and 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the FIR, Shekhawat has alleged in his complaint that on July 17, 2020, various prominent media houses and news channels had aired some telephonic conversations, allegedly between him, a man named Sanjay Jain and Bhanwar Lal Sharma, a member of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. In the complaint, Shekhawat alleged that the the telephonic conversations were allegedly leaked to the media houses and news channels by Lokesh Sharma, OSD to the Rajasthan chief minister.

Last week, the Rajasthan government had informed the state assembly that it did not tap the phones of any legislator during last year's political crisis.

Rejecting the BJP's allegations on phone tapping, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal had said the saffron party was making an issue in order to protect Shekhawat.

Dhariwal had said the chief minister would offer his resignation if these allegations were proved right. 'Not only the chief minister, all of us will resign,' Dhariwal had said. PTI AMP BUN BUN TDS TDS