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"Focus on the truth...": Ashok Gehlot responds to "phone tapping" allegations made by his former OSD

Jodhpur: People "switching parties" is quite common hence "focus on truth," former Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said on Saturday while responding to allegations of phone tapping levelled by his ex-Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Lokesh Sharma.
"I do not know what revelations he has made, I don't get into such things. Given the political climate, people switching parties is quite common, so it's more important to focus on the truth rather than getting caught up in who's saying what," Gehlot said.
Last week, in a startling revelation, Sharma said that the purported audio clip of a phone conversation, involving Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and certain Congress figures discussing the ousting of the then Congress government in 2020, was provided to him by Gehlot.
Sharma has alleged that Gehlot used to tap the phones of rebel Congress leaders, including Sachin Pilot. He claimed that the audio clips of rebel Congress leaders and their phone calls provided to the news organisations were given to him by the former Rajasthan chief minister himself.
"Till today, I kept telling everyone that I received those audio clips from social media. But this is not the truth. On July 16, 2020, some audio clips went viral via the media because I shared them with the media using my phone number. In those audios, a conspiracy was being made to topple the government by poaching MLAs," Sharma said while addressing a press conference on April 25 in Jaipur.
"On July 16, 2020, Ashok Gehlot came to Hotel Fairmont because all the rebel leaders at that time were kept in that hotel. One hour after the CM left, his PSO Ramniwas called me up and asked me to come to the CM House as the CM wanted to meet me... As soon as I reached, the CM handed over a pen drive and a paper, which I circulated among the people through you. This paper allegedly contained a reference to a conversation between Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Late MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma, and Sanjay Jain, this pen drive contained their audio," Sharma said
"I was asked to circulate the audio on social media. I did not receive these audio clips via social media, CM Ashok Gehlot handed them over to me in this pen drive and asked me to circulate them to the media," Sharma alleged.
Sharma further alleged that the then Rajasthan Chief Minister wanted to portray the BJP's hand and hence Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was made to look as the main accused in the whole matter and it was alleged that BJP along with Sachin Pilot and other MLAs were attempting to topple the then Gehlot government.
Meanwhile, senior Rajasthan BJP leader Rajendra Rathore has demanded an inquiry into "phone tapping" allegations levelled by Lokesh Sharma.
"Former CM Ashok Gehlot's ex-OSD whom he (Ashok Gehlot) considered a trustworthy man and who stayed with him always like a shadow, that person opened about him and said that telephones were put on surveillance, even tapped and several scams were committed. Then Gehlot Sahab saying who is Lokesh Sharma, is ridiculous," Rathore said.
"Today Gehlot Sahab is keeping a distance. I have written to Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma that there should be a probe, those who did it on the signals of the then Chief Minister in violation of Telegraph Act 1955, they should be exposed wherever they are," he said.

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