National

'Gehlot Asked Me To Leak Clips': Big Claim By OSD Of Ex-Rajasthan CM In 2020 Phone-Tapping Row

The phone-tapping controversy had taken place in July 2020 during a political crisis when the Congress was running the Rajasthan government.

X/@_lokeshsharma and @ashokgehlot51
L: Lokesh Sharma, former OSD of ex-Rajasthan CM and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot (R) Photo: X/@_lokeshsharma and @ashokgehlot51
info_icon

The 2020 phone-tapping row of Rajasthan has resurfaced with the then chief minister Ashok Gehlot's OSD on Wednesday claiming that the clip of an alleged telephone conversation between Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and some Congress leaders on "toppling" the state's Congress government that year was given to him by the former CM.

The phone-tapping controversy had taken place in July 2020 during a political crisis when the Congress was running the Rajasthan government.

Clips of alleged telephonic conversations between Union Minister and BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Congress leaders surfaced amid a rebellion against Gehlot by his then deputy CM Sachin Pilot and 18 party MLAs supporting him.

Sharma had circulated the clips purportedly containing conversations about "toppling" the Congress government.

What Is Lokesh Sharma Saying Now

Lokesh Sharma's had back then claimed that he had got three clips from social media and forwarded those to news organisations, however, he on Wednesday said the clips were given to him by Ashok Gehlot.

"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 it to the media. I followed his instructions," Sharma claimed , as quoted by news agency PTI, while showing a pen drive to the reporters.

Gehlot, who is campaigning for his son Vaibhav Gehlot in the Jalore Lok Sabha seat, has not commented on the matter yet.

'Followed Gehlot's Instructions'

In March 2021, the Delhi Police registered an FIR against Lokesh Sharma on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telephonic conversations on a complaint by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Sharma moved the Delhi High Court to quash the FIR. In June 2021, the high court granted an interim stay on coercive action against Sharma.

On Wednesday, Sharma claimed that he followed Gehlot's instructions and did not disclose the source of the clips despite questioning by the Crime Branch.

He claimed he was assured full cooperation by Gehlot when a case was registered against him. However, he said he was neglected and faced mental torture due to the case and the questioning, according to the PTI report.

"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," Sharma said.

"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 added.

Sharma said he went home, transferred the audio clips to his laptop and then to his mobile phone before circulating those to the media. He also showed the laptop to the reporters.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement