Jaipur, October 22: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's OSD Lokesh Sharma did not appear on Friday before the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police in connection with a phone tapping case, citing "family emergency". The CM's officer on special duty (OSD) was issued a notice by the Crime Branch to appear before it in Delhi for questioning in connection with the case lodged on a complaint by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

“When I was on my way to the Crime Branch, I received news of a family emergency and returned. That is why I could not appear,” Sharma said.

He was earlier called for questioning on July 24 but he said it was not possible for him to travel out of Jaipur for two weeks due to personal reasons.

However, he said if there was any urgency, he is available via video conference at a suitable time. The Delhi High Court has already ordered not to take coercive action against Sharma till January 13. The Delhi police had registered the FIR in March this year against Sharma on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telegraphic signals (telephonic conversation) on the complaint by Shekhawat, who is also a BJP MP from Jodhpur. Paytm IPO Update: Digital Payment Firm May Directly Head for IPO Without Pre-IPO to Fast-Track Listing.

The phone-tapping controversy erupted in July last year in Rajasthan after alleged audio clips of alleged telephonic conversations between Shekhawat and Congress leaders surfaced amidst a rebellion against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot by his party leader Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs.

It was alleged that Lokesh Sharma circulated audio clips purportedly having conversation about the conspiracy to topple the Congress government. On the basis of the audio clips, a complaint was lodged with the Special Operations Group (SOG) and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Rajasthan Police in July last year but the FIR did not mention that Gajendra Singh referred to in an audio clip was Union minister Shekhawat.

The SOG later closed the case after the Congress high command intervened to resolve the issues between Gehlot and Pilot. Sharma has rejected the allegations of phone tapping.

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