The desert state’s political saga has taken a new turn after a team of the Rajasthan Police, that went to a resort in Haryana’s Manesar, where some rebel Congress MLAs have reportedly been camping, were stopped by the state’s cops and had to return empty-handed on Friday.
The Rajasthan police headed by SP Vikas Sharma had reached the hotel at Manesar to record the statement of a dissident Congress leader of the Sachin Pilot camp, staying here since last Friday.
According to a report in NDTV, the Rajasthan Special Operations Group had gone to record a voice sample of Bhanwar Lal Sharma, who according to the Congress, had been involved in an alleged conspiracy with the BJP to topple the Ashok Gehlot government.
As soon as the Rajasthan Police arrived at the hotel, they were stopped by their Haryana counterpart for almost an hour and then allowed to go inside. However, the Rajasthan police reportedly could not get hold of any of the rebels.
Additional Director General (SOG) Ashok Rathore said the team was told at the reception that the MLA was not there.
It is alleged that the rebel MLAs are being protected by the Haryana police.
Newly-appointed Rajasthan Congress President, Govind Singh Dotasra, has claimed that Rajasthan SOG team was made to wait by the Haryana Police until the MLAs inside the resort were moved out.
Security was enhanced in and around this hotel soon after at least 20 rebel MLAs came here last Friday night.
The Congress had earlier on Friday announced that it has suspended MLAs Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh from primary membership of the party.
The political upheaval in Rajasthan worsened on Thursday as the Congress released three audio clips purported to be of “horse-trading” discussions, which it said, were being held between Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and an MLA of Sachin Pilot’s camp, who were coordinating via a Jaipur resident.
Speaking to media, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the tapes contained conversations between Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP leader Sanjay Jain and Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma, where they spoke about bribing MLAs and bringing down the Rajasthan government.
He further demanded the Rajasthan Government and Special Operations Group (SOG) to register an FIR and arrest the culprits as “plenty of evidence has surfaced now”.
However, in separate statements, Union minister Shekhawat and MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma has rejected the charge that they figured in the audio clips.
Following the release of what is claimed to be the transcripts of the alleged audio conversations, an FIR was filled by the Special Operations Group (SOG) against Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP leader Sanjay Jain and rebel Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma.
Further, businessman Sanjay Jain was arrested by the Special Operations Group (SOG) team of Rajasthan Police on Friday under sections 124-A (sedition) and 120-B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Meanwhile, a disqualification case is in the Rajasthan High Court as Sachin Pilot and his loyalists have challenged the validity and legality of the notice sent to them on Tuesday by Speaker CP Joshi, asking them to explain why they should not be disqualified as Assembly members for defying the party whip.
After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on Tuesday, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.
Two other ministers, Vishvender Singh and Ramesh Meena, who joined him in his revolt, were also immediately dropped from the Ashok Gehlot cabinet.
Meanwhile, amidst the crisis, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has indirectly accused Sachin Pilot of engaging in a deal to topple the government.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Gehlot said that the PCC chief was talking to the BJP and the deal was closed at 2 am and a monetary transaction was done. He also accused the Modi government of being engaged in the entire plot.