Gehlot alleges bid to topple Rajasthan govt, asked to record statement

Gehlot and his deputy Pilot have been issued notices to record their statements in this connection

Ashok Gehlot
Gehlot, who is facing rebellion from 19 Congress MLAs including former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot has been constantly pitching for an Assembly session so that he can prove his majority

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday (July 11) alleged that BJP leaders have “gone beyond humanity” and are trying to topple his government amid the pandemic. He, however, exuded confidence that the Congress government led by him will complete its five-year term.

He said that BJP leaders have “crossed the limit of shamelessness” and were doing politics like “bakra-mandi (goat-market)”. “The government in Rajasthan is stable, will remain stable and will last five years,” Gehlot said at a press conference here.

He alleged that Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria, Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore and BJP state president Satish Poonia were executing the agenda of their party’s central leadership.

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“Amid the crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic, BJP leaders have gone beyond humanity and are engaged in toppling the government,” the chief minister said.

The BJP has sabotaged governments in several states. It now wants to play the same game in Rajasthan, that it did in Madhya Pradesh, Gehlot said. “But they have been exposed and people will give the BJP a befitting reply at the right time,” he added.

The Rajasthan police have already issued notices to Gehlot, his deputy Sachin Pilot and the government’s chief whip Mahesh Joshi to record their statements in connection with the alleged attempts to topple the Congress government in the state, sources said on Saturday.

The move came after the police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) on Friday registered an FIR against two people, who have been detained, for their alleged involvement in the horse trading of Congress MLAs for toppling the Ashok Gehlot government.

“Notices have been issued to the chief minister, deputy chief minister and government chief whip for recording their statement in connection with the matter,” an official said.

Related news: Rajasthan Congress MLAs ‘resort’ to cricket as stay extended till RS polls

The sources said nearly a dozen MLAs and others may also be issued notices soon. They said the probe has revealed that two to three MLAs were also involved in offering money to the Congress and other MLAs on behalf of the BJP.

However, they refused to disclose the names of the MLAs. Action against those involved in the matter is also likely to be taken by the anti-corruption bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The anti-corruption bureau lodged a preliminary inquiry against three Independent MLAs in Rajasthan on Saturday, a day after the special operations group registered a case over alleged attempt to topple the Ashok Gehlot government. The legislators — Om Prakash Hudla, Suresh Tak and Khushveer Singh — were allegedly involved in offering money to some other MLAs on behalf of the BJP for toppling the government, according to the ACB sources.

“The probe in the inquiry is going on,” the sources said. “Since corruption is involved, the matter is being probed under the Prevention of Corruption Act.”

Hudla, however, said he was not involved in any such activity. The SOG of the Rajasthan Police registered a case on basis of the facts that came up during interception of two mobile numbers, which were taken on surveillance on June 13.

Meanwhile, the SOG has detained the two persons whose calls were intercepted. “One person was detained from Udaipur and one from Ajmer district late last night. They were brought to Jaipur for interrogation,” an official of the SOG said.

The SOG registered the FIR on the basis of facts that surfaced during interception of two mobile numbers which indicated that efforts were being made to poach ruling party MLAs.

The chief minister had alleged that attempts were being made to destablise the state government and the government chief whip had filed complaints with the SOG and ACB demanding an inquiry into the case ahead of Rajya Sabha elections for two seats in the state last month.

The deputy chief minister, who is also the PCC chief, had said that no such fact had come to his notice and no MLA complained to him in this regard.

Amid allegations of horse trading of MLAs, the Congress and other supporting MLAs were kept in a resort for several days till the Rajya Sabha elections on June 19.

The chief minister, ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections, had blamed the BJP for trying to destablise his government like Madhya Pradesh, an allegation which the BJP had rejected as baseless.

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