Ashok Gehlot shared union minister's audio on 'toppling' Rajasthan govt, ex-aide claims | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Ashok Gehlot shared union minister's audio on 'toppling' Rajasthan govt, ex-aide claims

Apr 25, 2024 07:33 AM IST

The Delhi Police registered an FIR against Shamra in March 2021 following the complaint of Shekhawat on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust

Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot's former aide, Lokesh Sharma on Wednesday claimed that the purported audio clip of an alleged telephonic conversation between Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and party leaders on "toppling" the state's Congress government in 2020, was given to him by the Congress veteran.

Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. (File)(HT_PRINT)
Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. (File)(HT_PRINT)

Addressing a press conference in Jaipur, Sharma claimed that Ashok Gehlot gave him a pen drive with some audio clips, which were later leaked to the media following the 2020 political crisis in Rajasthan.

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Read here: 'Priyanka Gandhi trolling Gehlot': Sanjay Nirupam on ‘5 power centres’ in Congress

"I did not get the audio clip from social media, The then-chief minister Ashok Gehlot had given me all these audio clips through this pen drive and asked me to circulate those to the media. I followed his instructions," news agency PTI quoted Sharma as saying.

His latest claim marks a shift from his previous stand of getting the audio clips from social media.

He also played a purported recording of his conversation with Ashok Gehlot, where he asked him about phone recordings. Sharma further claimed that his private residence was raided to ensure that the mobile phone used to circulate the audio clips was destroyed.

"On July 16, 2020, the then-chief minister came to Hotel Fairmont where the Congress MLAs of his camp were staying following the political crisis. He left the hotel around 4 pm. Later, I got a call from Gehlot's PSO Ramniwas that he was calling me to the chief minister's residence. When I reached, Gehlot gave me this pen drive having three audio clips and a paper with a transcript of the clips. He asked me to circulate those to the media," he claimed.

Sharma said that following this, he went home and transferred the audio clips to his laptop and his mobile before circulating them to the media. He claimed that after giving the pen drive, Gehlot called him twice to know the delay behind the news broadcast.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR against Sharma in March 2021, following the complaint of Shekhawat on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telephonic conversations.

The phone tapping case is currently being probed by Delhi Police's Crime Branch. He is currently on bail from the Delhi high court, which has ordered non-coercive action against him.

Read here: Sachin Pilot reveals why he buried the hatchet with Ashok Gehlot

He alleged that his boss assured him full support when a case was registered against him and he followed Gehlot's instructions and did not disclose the source of the clips despite questioning by the crime branch. However, he was neglected and faced mental torture due to the case and the probe.

"I am disclosing all this because me and my family have been through a tough time. I had no role in tapping phones. I did what my boss asked me to do. I did not say this when the Congress was in power because I was working as his OSD (officer on special duty). When the party lost the assembly elections, I had held Gehlot responsible," he added.

In July 2020, when the Ashok Gehlot-led state government was under pressure due to the rebellion of Sachin Pilot and other MLAs, certain audio conversations of rebel MLAs with the BJP leader were leaked to the media and went viral.

Read here: Union minister predicts Ashok Gehlot's future in Congress, says 'will visit him to...'

Sharma further hit out at Gehlot for his alleged involvement in the Rajasthan Teacher Eligibility Test (REET) paper leak and for keeping the party's high command in the dark over certain issues.

"Gehlot played with the futures of lakhs of youngsters and now is focussing only on the Jalore seat where his son is contesting," he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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