THE Rajasthan High Court will on Tuesday resume hearing the petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the Assembly Speaker. The hearing remained inconclusive on Monday and Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty said it will be concluded on Tuesday. The order is also likely to be pronounced on Tuesday. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for the Speaker, argued that the petition was premature as a decision was yet to be taken on disqualifying the MLAs from the House.
He said there was no scope for interference by a court over the show cause notices issued by the Speaker. The dissident MLAs had moved court on Friday amid the infighting in the state unit of the Congress, as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot tussled for power. The petition was taken up a by a bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta. The proceedings resumed on Monday morning and continued till the evening. The notices to the MLAs were served after their party complained to the Speaker that they had defied a whip to attend two Congress Legislature Party meetings last week.
The Pilot camp, however, argues that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session. Shekhawat questions audio tapes’ authenticity: UNION Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Monday questioned the authenticity of the audio clips, cited by the Congress to allege his involvement in a purported bid to topple the Rajasthan Government, after the state police served him a notice to give his voice sample and record his statement. In a statement, Shekhawat, a senior BJP leader from Rajasthan, sought to know the source of the audio clips and how the state police got them.
His office received the notice served by the Rajasthan Police SOG (special operations group), which is probing the case, on Saturday, he said. Shekhawat said, “They (police) should first clarify about authenticity of these tapes. Who recorded it and where did the SOG get it from. Investigation should be carried out to find out if these tapes are genuine or not.” Rajasthan SOG serves notice on Union Minister Shekhawat: PROBING into an alleged plot to topple the state government, the Special Operations Group of the Rajasthan Police has served a notice on Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat under a CrPC section which requires him to appear before the investigation officer when called.
The subpoena was sent to the personal secretary of Shekhawat under Section 160 of the CrPC in connection with the audio tapes, in one of which the Minister is allegedly heard during a purported conversation to topple the Rajasthan Government. However, the FIR does not identify “Gajendra Singh” referred in the clip as Union Minister Shekhawat, a senior BJP leader from Rajasthan. Shekhawat had earlier denied that he figured in the audio clip and said he is open to a probe.
Attempt to stifle legitimate concerns: Pilot
July 20 (PTI)
CONGRESS leader Sachin Pilot on Monday dismissed as “baseless and vexatious” the allegations by a party MLA from Rajasthan that the former Deputy Chief Minister had offered him money to join the BJP, and asserted that it was an attempt to stifle the “legitimate concerns” that he has raised against the party leadership in the state. Pilot said he will be taking “appropriate and strictest possible legal action” against the MLA who “was made to” level these accusations. “I am saddened but not surprised to be at the receiving end of such baseless and vexatious allegations being levelled against me,” Pilot said in a statement. “This is done solely to malign me and to stifle the legitimate concerns that I had raised against the party leadership of the state, as a member and MLA of INC,” he said. Congress MLA from Rajasthan Giriraj Singh Malinga alleged on Monday that rebel party leader Sachin Pilot had offered him money to join the BJP.
Rajasthan CM badmouths Sachin Pilot
July 20 (PTI)
RAJASTHAN Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday called Sachin Pilot “useless”, using the Hindi word “nikamma” in a no-holds-barred attack on his former deputy with whom he is locked in a power tussle. Referring to the dissident leader’s tenure as the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Gehlot claimed that nobody raised questions for the sake of the party even when they knew that he didn’t work. “We knew he is `nikamma’ (useless), he is `nakara’ (idle) and not doing any work,” the Chief Minister told reporters, his choice of blunt words indicating that there is no chance now of a reconciliation between the two. Gehlot did not mention Pilot by name, referring once to him as his “young colleague” and recalling that the he had been given important posts by the party at an early age. The Chief Minister claimed that Pilot used to say, “Did I come here to sell vegetables? I came here to become the Chief Minister.” He said Rajasthan was the only State where there had been no demand to change the PCC president over the last seven years, suggesting that this was to prevent trouble within the party. Gehlot said he had talked about a conspiracy to topple his Government, but nobody believed that somebody with an “innocent face” could be involved.