As the winter chill intensifies, the war of CDs is raising political temperatures in Himachal Pradesh.
A day after 17 Congress MLAs shot off a letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram, alleging victimisation of former chief minister and Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh based on a 20-year-old CD, two other CDs came into circulation on Tuesday. This time, they involve the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On Tuesday, the CDs — an audio disc and a video disc — were couriered to journalists, top government officials and the chief minister.
The audio CD allegedly contains conversations between Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Director General (Vigilance) D.S.Manhas.
In the CD, Dhumal allegedly gives Manhas his nod to tap the phones of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh. Manhas is purportedly heard saying that if the police’s Criminal Investigation Department did the tapping, information might leak out.
The vigilance department has recently purchased phone-tapping equipment, official sources said.
But Dhumal dismissed all talk of his government’s involvement in phone tapping. “It’s not the job of the vigilance department to tap phones,” he told Hindustan Times.
Manhas, too, denied the allegation. “I have only heard about this from journalists. I can’t comment on the CDs,’’ he said.
Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh was not available for comment.
The 43-minute video CD shows Virender Kashyap, then the BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha from Shimla, allegedly accepting currency notes wrapped in a newspaper from a person allegedly for government clearance for a land transaction to set up an educational institute in Solan in April 2009.
Kashyap went on to become an MP a month later. Kashyap did not return calls made by the Hindustan Times to elicit his comments on the CD.