New Delhi: A CD delivered anonymously to media houses a few weeks ago mounted a new controversy - it purported to have a conversation between politicians Amar Singh , Mulayam Singh Yadav, and former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan. On the CD, a voice that resembled Mr Bhushan's was heard suggesting that a judge could be bribed for four crores for a desired verdict.
NDTV chose not to play the CD on air, because its veracity could not be determined. However, a series of stories focused on the immediate fallout of the CD entering the public domain.
Mr Bhushan and his son, Prashant - who was also referred to on the CD - said that the CD had been doctored. Mr Bhushan said the voice was his, but that tapes had been spliced together to present a dishonest narrative.
A section of politicians and critics of Mr Bhushan suggested that he must surrender his post as Co-Chairman of the committee that was set up to draft a new law against corruption. The committee was the prized climax of a nationwide demonstration against corruption led by civil activist Anna Hazare. At his insistence, and because of the massive public support he provoked, the government agreed that five of its ministers would work with five representatives of civil society to draft the new Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudsman Bill).
Two government labs delivered two vastly different reports on whether the Bhushan CD was doctored.
NDTV had not played the CD on Mr Bhushan because the Supreme Court had earlier banned the media from reporting on a cache of conversations involving Amar Singh whose phone had been tapped. Mr Bhushan's conversation was a part of these conversations. But yesterday, the Supreme Court said that the tapes could now be reported on.
And what surfaces after investigation is the strong likelihood that the CD was indeed doctored. Mr Bhushan's sentences seem to be mixed into other conversations between Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh.