The CD controversy involving Lokpal Bill drafting committee co-chair Shanti Bhushan continued to rage Sunday with his son and panel member Prashant Bhushan terming the CD fake and announcing he would file a contempt case in the Supreme Court in a day or two.
The Bhushans were backed by social reformer Anna Hazare, who said it has been found by experts that the CD was “bogus”.
Meanwhile, the Congress continued its criticism of Hazare and the civil society movement against graft with general secretary Digvijay Singh making a fresh allegation that Hazare was “surrounded by a coterie”.
Prashant Bhushan told a news conference here that the CD, containing a conversation between Shanti Bhushan and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and now expelled party leader Amar Singh was doctored to derail the civil society movement against graft and the proceedings of two important Supreme Court cases.
Without taking names, Prashant Bhushan said: “There appears to be a a clear conspiracy on the part of some people which appears having blessings of many powerful people in this country not only to discredit me and my father and civil society, but to derail judicial proceedings.”
The conversation allegedly has Shanti Bhushan promising Mulayam Singh of influencing a judge for a price and suggesting that Prashant Bhushan will faciliate the “fixing”.
“The CD is fabricated as we have got it subjected to forensic examination from two of the topmost forensic labs specialising in audio analysing,” Prashant Bhushan said, adding they will file a contempt petition in a day or two.
He said the two cases referred to in the CD are the Amar Singh tapes case itself “where we had filed an application that the tapes should not be restricted and released to the media because they show evidence of all kinds of conspiracies between Amar Singh and various other people and business people”.
“The other case is the 2G spectrum scam case where judgment has been reserved by this bench on petition filed by me for cancelling all the licences.”
“This CD, by purporting to suggest that I can influence the judge, appears to be an attempt to derail judicial proceedings and interfere with judicial proceedings in that case, which to my mind, amounts to contempt of court,” he said.
“There are political forces and corporate forces behind this in an attempt to derail proceedings in the cancellation of 2G cases. There were at least six clear signs of doctoring gaps or electronic editing in my father’s conversation,” he added.
“The most interesting finding of the testing is that the entire portion of what Mulayam Singh said in the purported conversation with Amar Singh has been bodily lifted from a conversation between Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh that took place in Feb 2006 and has been sliced and inserted (into the present CD),” he said.
Prashant Bhushan said a civil and criminal defamation suit will be filed against Digvijay Singh for another allegation – that the Bhushans had evaded stamp duty in a property deal in their native Allahabad city.
“We hope the court will ensure a credible investigation is conducted,” he said.
Hazare, breaking his silence over the controversy, said : “The CD was sent to a high level laboratory in the country for testing and we got the reports that it is bogus. Shanti Bhushan will approach the court in the matter.”
Shanti Bhushan, a former law minister, asserted that it was “clearly a fabricated CD” as he had never spoken to the two politicians.
Meanwhile, Amar Singh had told reporters that the tape was “unauthorised”.
Shanti Bhushan registered a complaint with Delhi Police Thursday after being informed by a journalist about an audio CD carrying recordings of his alleged conversations with the two politicians.
RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, who is also a member of the panel, backed Shanti Bhushan and alleged police do not want to investigate the case to keep the matter lingering and to force Shanti Bhushan to resign from the panel.
Meanwhile, Digvijay Singh, participating in a TV panel discussion, said that Hazare was “surrounded by a coterie” and had made a mistake by praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The controversy began with copies of the CD being supplied to media organisations Friday, on the eve of the first meeting of the Lokpal bill joint drafting committee comprising five ministers led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and five civil society members including the Bhushans, Hazare, Kejriwal and former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.
The government had April 9 agreed to a joint drafting committee after Hazare resorted to a 97-hour fast-unto-death at Janatar Mantar here.