The administration of hotel ITC Bharat, Best Western Country club, Manesar and Heritage Village, Manesar – where Sachin Pilot and MLAs supporting him were allegedly camping – told Rajasthan’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Friday that the legislators were not their guests and didn’t stay there.
The investigators were not allowed to enter Best Western Country club and Heritage Village properties in Manesar. Rajasthan’s special operation group (SOG), which is also probing the horse trading case, had received a similar response by the hotel administrations on Wednesday.
On Friday morning around 6am, a five-member team from the ACB headed by deputy superintendent of police (DSP), ACB, Saleh Mohammad had left for Manesar to record statements of two MLAs, Vishvendra Singh and Bhanwarlal Sharma, considered to be in Sachin Pilot’s camp.
“The ACB team reached ITC Bharat around 11.30 am, where the team members were allowed entry till reception. The team checked the visitor record of the hotel and an hour later they left for Best Western Country Club, where they were stopped by the hotel administration a few metres ahead of the hotel,” said an ACB official familiar with the developments.
The official added that when the ACB team enquired about Singh and Sharma, the hotel administration, in a written reply, said the MLAs never stayed there. The team got a similar response from hotel Heritage Village.
The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Friday served reminder notices to former tourism minister Vishwendra Singh and Sardarshahar MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma, to get their statements registered within seven-days.
“Reminder notices have been sent to Sharma and Singh to come to the ACB headquarters within seven days and get their statements registered. We also want to ask them some questions related to audio tapes,” said an ACB official related to the investigation.
On July 17, the ACB registered a case against rebel Congress lawmaker Bhanwarlal Sharma, one Gajendra Singh and a power broker named Sanjay Jain under Section 7 (public servant accepts or attempts to take a bribe) and 7A (public servant obtaining undue advantage) of the IPC, on the basis of a complaint filed by chief whip of Rajasthan assembly, Mahesh Joshi.
The basis of the complaint was the surfacing of three incriminating audiotapes that quickly went viral on social media.
In one of the audiotapes, a rebel Congress lawmaker, who Joshi claims to be Sharma, is purportedly talking to a middleman and a person named Gajendra Singh about toppling the Ashok Gehlot government.
In another tape, two persons are heard talking about some MLAs having accepted the first installment and the next course of action.
On July 20, notices were sent to the house of Sharma and Singh in which the ACB sought co-operation from the two MLAs in the investigation. On July 24, the duo was served reminder notices.