A few hours before Virbhadra Singh was sworn in as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister on Tuesday morning, the state police carried out a midnight operation in a most protected room in the state CID office. Their mission was to seal the room that allegedly contained records pertaining to phone tappings and video recordings carried out in the previous BJP regime.
According to sources, the Virbhadra government acted following information that the records were being destroyed. The recordings reportedly concern Congress leaders, bureaucrats and businessmen, among others.
While eight computer hard discs were reportedly seized from the state CID office on Tuesday, four more were recovered from the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. All the discs as well as CPUs of computers allegedly used to make the recordings were sent to the state forensic laboratory at Junga on Wednesday.
ADGP (Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau) Privthi Raj confirmed that a forensic team had taken the CPUs. “It is true we have handed over some computer CPUs to the forensic team which came to us along with a senior magistrate following government orders,” he told The Indian Express.
Raj was appointed to the post, replacing K C Sadyal, hours after Virbhadra took over. The CM has also got a new CID head in ADGP (Homeguards) B Kamal Kumar.
A senior police officer told The Indian Express that the records were seized on the orders of Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy. “We do not know what was happening at the CID or whether voice recordings were made on orders of ruling party leaders. It can even be a handiwork of some officials close to the BJP,” a senior IAS officer monitoring the development said. The orders to seal the room reportedly came on the night of December 24.
Officials have been instructed to determine the nature of the conservations recorded by the CID and if these concerned top leaders ahead of the government formation. The Chief Secretary held a meeting with ADGP (CID) and other officials, including DIG (CID), Wednesday morning.
According to police sources, some of the telephone recordings concern corrupt government servants. Over Rs 39 lakh cash had been seized from government servants in one year in the state with the help of traps laid by the Vigilance Bureau and clues provided by the CID. This included Himachal Administrative Services officers and PWD engineers.
However, add sources, what may have prompted the new government’s action is the suspicion that