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'Leaked tapes' create political turmoil in Chhattisgarh

Congress veteran Ajit Jogi faces action after a leaked tape has suggested his involvement in a secret deal to benefit the BJP in an election in Chhattisgarh

R Krishna Das  |  Raipur 

Ajit Jogi
Ajit Jogi

The leaked tapes of conversations allegedly between former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, his son Amit, his 'associates' and Dr Puneet Gupta (son-in-law of Chief Minister Raman Singh) in connection with 'fixing' a by-election last year flared up a flurry of political activities in the state on Wednesday.

An English newspaper published from New Delhi carried the report of the telephonic conversations involving the Jogis, Dr Puneet Gupta, alleged Jogi associate Firoz Siddiqui, Ameen Meman and Manturam Pawar, the Congress candidate for Antagarh by-election who surprisingly withdrew from the fray at the last minute. The by-election was necessitated in August last year as the BJP MLA Vikram Usendi got elected to Lok Sabha in 2014 general elections.

Following the withdrawal of BJP candidate, the ruling BJP had a cakewalk in the by-election. The Congress leaders belonging to the anti-Jogi camp cried foul and alleged that it was managed by the ruling party. The purported conversations showed the alleged exercise to make Pawar withdraw from the contest by paying hefty money.

“We raised doubts when Pawar withdrew from the contest that ruling BJP had mounted pressure and it had been proved,” Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee President Bhupesh Baghel said. He demanded that Prime Minister and the Governor should take immediate action and dismiss the Raman Singh government as his son-in-law’s name had been appearing in the deal. Baghel said a special investigation team (SIT) should be constituted under the supervision of the Supreme Court to probe the issue.

The PCC Chief said a show-cause notice would be issued to Amit Jogi who is also party’s MLA while the matter related to Ajit Jogi had been referred to Congress High Command.

While Ajit Jogi termed the tapes as fake and said he would file a defamation suit against the newspaper, his son Amit lodged a complaint with the Bilaspur police against the newspaper and the correspondent for publishing 'false' and “fabricated” story.

Chief Minister Raman Singh denied involvement of his family in the incident and said the issue was the outcome of Congress’ groupism in the state. “Neither the BJP nor the Chief Minister House has any role,” he said.

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First Published: Wed, December 30 2015. 18:08 IST