On Phone Tapping Allegations, Home Ministry Asks Rajasthan For Report

The Congress on Friday suspended two rebel MLAs -- Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh - from the party's primary membership after an audio clip surfaced on social media.

The Congress called the BJP's allegation is admission of guilt (File)

New Delhi:

The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the Rajasthan Chief Secretary on the allegations of illegal tapping of phones amid a political crisis in the state, triggered by Congress leader Sachin Pilot's open revolt, news agency ANI reported.

The Congress on Friday suspended two rebel MLAs - Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh - from the party's primary membership after an audio clip surfaced on social media in which they were allegedly conspiring with Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat against the Ashok Gehlot government.

The Union Minister had denied that the voice in the alleged clip was his and said he was ready for any probe.

The BJP on Saturday called for a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe to determine if the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan had illegally tapped phones of politicians in the state.

The party demanded to know if SOP (standard operating procedure) had been followed before tapping political leaders' phones or if the Gehlot government had scrambled to "save themselves when cornered".

"These are serious questions that we want to ask the Congress high command and Ashok Gehlot. Was phone tapping done? Assuming that you've tapped phones, was the standard operating procedure followed? Did the Congress government in Rajasthan use unconstitutional ways to save themselves when they found themselves cornered?" BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

The Congress called the allegation admission of guilt.

"The shamelessness of this admission is also very shocking. They are not worried about the fact that they got caught red handed, they are worried about the fact that why did they get caught, (and) was exposing their crime legal," party leader Pawan Khera said.

The Rajasthan Police's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) registered a case in connection with the audio clips based on Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi's complaint.

Mr Pilot and Mr Gehlot have always had differences but the matter boiled after the former deputy chief minister was served a notice to join probe linked to the alleged conspiracy to topple the Rajasthan government.

Mr Pilot soon went incommunicado -the Congress had alleged - along with a number of MLAs, endangering Mr Gehlot's government. His team had later claimed he has the support of 30 MLAs - enough to topple the government.

Mr Gehlot, however, says he has 109 MLAs- much more than the majority mark. On Saturday, he said two MLAs of a regional party - BTP - that earlier withdrew support from the Congress announced that they will back the administration.

With inputs from agencies