The Delhi Police's Crime Branch has sent a notice to Congress chief whip in the Rajasthan Assembly Mahesh Joshi asking him to appear before it on June 24 for questioning in the phone tapping case lodged on a complaint by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The police have asked Joshi to reach the Prashant Vihar office of the Crime Branch in Rohini for the questioning. Joshi confirmed he had received the notice on Tuesday but said he would not be able to appear before the Crime Branch on June 24. "I will not be able to appear before the Crime Branch in Delhi on the said date. A reply to the notice will be given today," Joshi told PTI.
The Congress leader said he was not named in the FIR that was registered by the police on the complaint lodged by Shekhawat, who is also the BJP MP from Jodhpur.
The phone-tapping controversy erupted in July last year in Rajasthan. Audio clips of alleged telephonic conversations between Shekhawat and Congress leaders surfaced amidst a rebellion against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot by his then deputy Sachin Pilot and 18 party MLAs supporting him.
Congress leaders of Gehlot's camp had alleged that BJP leaders were indulging in horse-trading to topple the state government.
On the basis of Shekhawat's complaint, the Delhi Police registered an FIR in March this year against Gehlot's Officer on Special Duty Lokesh Sharma and others on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telegraphic signals (telephonic conversation).
Sharma has rejected the allegations. He had approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIR against him. Earlier this month, the court asked the Delhi Police not to take any coercive action against Sharma till the next date of hearing -- August 6.
Joshi had lodged complaints regarding the audio clips of conversations purportedly about attempts to topple the Rajasthan government with the state police's Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) last year.
However, the Rajasthan Police FIR did not mention that Gajendra Singh referred to in the clip was Union minister Shekhawat.
The SOG ultimately closed the case after the Congress high command intervened to resolve the issues between Gehlot and Pilot.