Co-chair of Lokpal Bill drafting panel in CD row
Ahead of the first meeting of the panel set up to draft the Lokpal Bill, its co-chairman Shanti Bhushan – a former law minister and civil society activist – on Friday found himself in the midst of a controversy over a CD that contained unauthenticated tapes of his conversation with Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav over fixing of a judge with reference to a particular case.
The copies of the CD were anonymously delivered at the offices of media organisations. Shanti Bhushan’s son Prashant Bhushan, also a member of the draft panel, said that the CD was fabricated. Shanti Bhushan registered a complaint with the Delhi Police.
Prashant Bhushan also said that a forensic test would prove that the tapes on the CD had been fabricated. The conversation on the CD suggests that Shanti Bhushan was with former SP general secretary Amar Singh, when the latter called up Yadav. Singh later apparently handed over the phone to Shanti Bhushan, who then talked with the SP chief.
The unauthenticated tapes on the CD suggests that Shanti Bhushan told Yadav that his son Prashant Bhushan would help the SP chief fix a judge for a particular case for Rs 4 crore.
Shanti Bhushan, as the law minister in the then Morarji Desai-led government, had introduced the Lokpal bill in Parliament in 1977, but it could never see the light of the day.
Prashant Bhushan said that while the voice on the CD could be his father's, it appeared that different conversations had been spliced together to create a false narrative. He said that his father had never met Amar Singh. Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said that the investigators had filed a case under Section 469 of IPC(forgery for the purpose of harming reputation).
“The said CD is clearly a fabricated CD as I have never had any conversation with the afore-named persons. The contents of the said conversation are defamatory in nature. It appears that the said CD has been fabricated in order to malign me,” Shanti’s complaint said.
Shanti Bhushan was last week nominated by veteran Gandhian and social activist Anna Hazare to co-chair the Joint Drafting Committee along with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to prepare a draft of the Lokpal Bill. In his complaint to the police, Shanti Bhushan claimed that the fabrication of the CD was a cognisable offence and clearly an offence of forgery under Section 469 of IPC.