Rajasthan fiasco: Notice served to BJP Union Minister for horse-trading

Sachin Pilot
Sachin Pilot

Jaipur: The officials of the Special Operation Group (SOG) on Monday issued notice to Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in the case of alleged horse-trading of MLAs in Rajasthan.

A notice has been served to the minister through his personal secretary," confirmed Ashok Rathore, additional director-general of police (ADGP), SOG, Rajasthan.

Shekhawat's personal secretary has confirmed of receiving the notice, however, he said the authenticity of the audio tapes must be proved first.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot's camp had released three audio clips a few days ago with purported conversation recorded between Congress MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma, an agent Sanjay Jain and Shekhawat.

A notice in this context has also been sent to Bhanwarlal Sharma and Sanjay Jain has already been arrested.

Meanwhile, Shekhawat earlier issued a statement saying that he has nothing to do with the audio tapes and that the voice and diction in the tapes don't match with his tone.

Sharma has also denied the allegations.

The SOG had registered two separate first information reports (FIRs) last Friday after Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi lodged a complaint about three audio tapes which surfaced on Thursday evening and quickly went viral on the social media.

The FIRs identified the rebel MLA from Sardarshahar, Bhanwarlal Sharma, who was later suspended by the party, and Sanjay Jain was arrested by the SOG on Friday night.

The accused named in the FIR have been booked under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code, Rathore said.

Hearing in Rajasthan HC

The hearing on a writ petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs from Rajasthan, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the state Assembly speaker resumed at the high court here at 10 am on Monday.

The petition was taken up a by a bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta on Friday and arguments were heard.

The notices to the MLAs were served after the party complained to the speaker that the lawmakers had defied a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings last week on Monday and Tuesday.

The Pilot camp, however, argues that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session.

In its complaint to the speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the other dissidents under paragraph 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.

The provision disqualifies MLAs if they "voluntarily" give up the membership of the party that they represent in the House.

Pilot was sacked as the Rajasthan deputy chief minister and the president of the state Congress unit after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

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