The accused in the bribe cartel in the Rajasthan mines department, including suspended IAS officer Ashok Singhvi, on Sunday refused to provide voice samples for forensic tests.
The voice samples were sought to match the voices of the accused with the phone conversations taped by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
While the refusal of the accused is likely to weaken the ACB’s case in the court, the bureau is hoping that the negation itself may go against the accused in the legal course.
As per law, consent of an accused is to be obtained for voice sample, lie detector test, brain mapping or narco test that are used by investigative agencies to build their cases.
In this case also, the bureau was banking highly on the taped conservation of the accused on the basis of which IAS Singhvi, two mines officials and five private persons, including a mines owner Sher Khan, were arrested on September 16 and 17.
“They (accused) were expected to deny consent, but we hope this will go against them in the court proceedings,” said a senior ACB official, without wishing to be named. The bureau teams are transcribing the taped conservations that which would be attached with the charge sheet.
The bureau, with permission from the home department, had put phones of some of the accused on surveillance and taped their conservations for around two months before the arrests were made. Though Singhvi’s phone was not put on surveillance, his conservation with other accused was taped, sources in the ACB said.
“Voice sample is weak evidence and there are rare conviction instances on the basis of voice sample testing” said Sunil Kumar Singh, a senior advocate at Rajasthan high court.
The denial of consent could be considered as adverse presumption but is not a strong evidence in the court proceedings, said another high court advocate. “If an accused denies contest for voice sample, the prosecution has to present other related evidence,” he said.
Director general of police (ACB) Navdeep Singh told HT that the bureau has strong evidence for conviction of the accused in the case.
Refusing to divulge further details, Singh said several teams were working on preparing the charge sheet which would be a foolproof document with taped conservation playing vital role in it.