Thursday, Oct 24 2019 | Time 00:31 Hrs(IST)
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Manturam appears before SIT in connection with Antagarh tape episode, refuses to give voice sample

Raipur, 24 Jun (UNI) Former MLA Manturam Pawar on Monday appeared before SIT office here in connection with alleged payoffs in Antagarh tape episode.
During interrogation which lasted for nearly an hour, Manturam Pawar refused to give any voice sample on the ground that he had already challenged the constitution of SIT in the court and the matter was still sub-judice.
According to him, the SIT had no power to seek his voice sample in connection with this case.
According to sources, the SIT which is looking into Antagarh tape episode had summoned Manturam Pawar last week to give his voice sample in connection with this matter. Instead of giving his voice sample he sought a copy of the court order for the same saying that he would give his voice sample only on the court directives.
Apart from Pawar, the former chief minister Ajit Jogi and his son and former MLA Amit Jogi were summoned and told to come to SIT office to provide their voice samples. Ajit Jogi and his son Amit Jogi were called on June 25 whereas Pawar was called today (Monday). Given Pawar’s refusal to give voice sample, it is anticipated that Ajit Jogi and Amit Jogi may also refuse to provide any voice sample to the SIT.
Meanwhile, SIT is planning to move the court to obtain voice samples of all the accused in this case. Later while talking to the reporters outside SIT office Manturam Pawar alleged that he was implicated in false charges in 2012 Antagarh tape episode. According to him, nothing had happened as it was alleged.
Antagarh tape episode is linked with the year 2014 when Antagarh seat was vacated with resignation by the then MLA Vikram Usendi after he won Lok Sabha elections. Congress had fielded former MLA Manturam Pawar from Antagarh assembly seat to contest assembly by-election on this seat while BJP had fielded Bhojraj Nag.
But Manturam Pawar mysteriously withdrew his candidature at the eleventh hour, giving a walk over to the BJP. Later a phone call had gone viral in the name of one Firoz Siddiqui. It was alleged that former CM Ajit Jogi's son Amit Jogi had facilitated withdrawal of Manturam.
Tape scandal allegedly comprised talks between Amit Jogi and former Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh's son-in-law Puneet Gupta. Manturam Pawar was alleged to be the main player of the infamous Antagarh tape episode with his sudden and mysterious withdrawal of candidature. Congress later alleged that Manturam withdrew his candidature after receiving a hefty payoff from the then BJP government in the state.
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