Why phone-tapping FIR lodged against me after 9 months, that too in Delhi: CM Gehlot’s OSD (Ld)
Jaipur, Sep 17 (IANS) Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s OSD Lokesh Sharma has been making news for the last few years. After taking up the job as CM’s OSD, he came in limelight after sharing an audio purportedly of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and other MLAs reportedly discussing ways and means to topple the Congress government during the 2020 rebellion.
Sharma further keeps trending as he leads from the front to give befitting replies to opposition's (BJP) claims on X (formerly Twitter) when the other Congress ministers and 11 advisors keep mum.
Recently, Lokesh Sharma expressed his keen desire to contest from the Bikaner West seat which is presently represented by state Education Minister B.D. Kalla (74), a six-time MLA, who seems displeased over the same request. The discussion between the two is seen as yet another Old Vs New war post Gehlot-Pilot episode in state.
IANS spoke to him exclusively and here are the excerpts:
IANS: Now all eyes are set on the Bikaner seat as to who will get the ticket. You being CM’s OSD has been termed as non-political person by Kalla. Your comments?
Sharma: CM has selected me as his OSD looking at my work. He considered me ideal for this task as I have been working with him since years. I have been into active politics and have been saying that I am a politician. In 1996, I contested elections in Rajasthan University and since then, have been on different posts in NSUI. As every politician has a desire to get a chance to work as a public representative, I too have the same desire and have been going to Bikaner quite frequently.
But it seems my tours were not liked by Kalla. He should not have been affected by my tours, but he is affected, he has problems with me, because his roots have been shaken. People are connected with me emotionally. Eventually, he announced that there is no winnable young man here who can contest polls from here. So I have to come forward and say that I am ready to contest from here if you guide me.
Kallaji then said that I am a government servant and should resign and I replied that I am ready to do it if I get a ticket. As such I have been going to Bikaner each month and connecting with people.
IANS: What is your opinion on shared audio to the media during the 2020 rebellion after which an FIR was lodged against you by Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in Delhi?
Sharma: I shared an audio with leaked phone calls with the media in 2020 on July 16 during the rebellion led by Sachin Pilot against Gehlot’s leadership.
After nine months, Shekhawat got an FIR filed against me in the Crime Branch of Delhi Police and initiated an investigation into the phone-tapping case. This FIR was registered for “illegally intercepting telephonic conversations” of MLAs and persons and circulating them to various media houses. It further mentioned the "leaked" conversations were between the complainant and an MLA.
Now the question is "Why this complaint was lodged after nine months of the episode and that too in Delhi."
“Why those involved in the case were silent for nine months and why did he go all out to Delhi to get a complaint filed when our agencies were already working on the case."
And now when the FIR clearly says that conversations were between the complainant and an MLA, our agencies should take action in the matter.
This audio was used as a political tool against me; I was simply doing my job. There were audios on social media and I shared it with the media so they know what is going on in the public domain. Those who were engaged in it have accepted that it was their talks so state agencies should move ahead with FIR against those engaged in discussion.
IANS: You have often been trending on social media with befitting replies against opposition. Is it OK to reply on such crucial issues as CM’s OSD?
Sharma: It is my responsibility to speak out the truth. The team of central ministers, including Union ministers like Amit Shah and Anurag Thakur, has been visiting Rajasthan and making hollow claims on issues of murderer of Kanhaiya Lal (Hindu tailor) and law & order claims. I had to share denial to Shah's claims that NIA arrested the murderers of Kanhaiya Lal and not Rajasthan Police. Similarly, there are many other claims which have to be given in details. Can't sit quiet knowing they are wrong.
IANS: Your frequent visits to Delhi for hearing on audio tape matters also keeps you in news. What has been your reason for going to Delhi for hearings?
Sharma: I have requested the court to either quash the complaint or else shift the case to Rajasthan on which judgement is awaited. The next hearing is on October 11 and till then, I am keeping my fingers crossed. My family doesn’t sleep a day before and a day after the hearing, don’t eat and stay emotionally disturbed. But I stay confident in my deeds and know that truth alone triumphs.
IANS: Are you confident in your candidature from Bikaner?
Sharma: As of now, I am busy connecting with people, not only of Bikaner but of the state. Have started 'Yuva Samwaad Programme' in the state and have connected with people across 125 assembly seats. I try to motivate youth to promote govt schemes. They also like it. We are all working to repeat the government and are confident that Congress will come back due to its unique schemes.