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Amar Singh sends legal notice to news channel on tapes

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The unsavoury phone-tapping controversy flared up again today with Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh, in the eye of a storm over contents of his tapped phone conversations, alleging that the tapes were distributed by the Congress and a Mumbai-based industrialist to sully his image.

''There is nothing objectionable in my telephonic talks with party President Mulayam Singh Yadav, film personalities and industrialists,'' Mr Singh told NDTV, which is in possession of a CD, entitled ''Amar Singh Ki Amar Kahani,'', containing his tapped conversations, including the ones with Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) chief Anil Ambani and some film personalities.

The high-profile SP leader, who sent a legal notice to NTDV not to broadcast the contents of the tapes, also wondered how CDs like this, which have been in the Delhi Police custody, reached NDTV and some other news channels.

''I want to know from Mr Karnail Singh, Jt Commissioner, Special Cell, Delhi Police how the CDs made their way from the police strong room to the news channels,'' he said. While the SP leader wanted the tapes to be given to the Supreme Court, NDTV has sought legal opinion on whether the contents could be broadcast as the matter is sub judice.

About the allegations that he discussed with his party chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav about influencing some High Court judges on the setting up of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in NOIDA, Mr Singh flatly denied that they tried to influence any judge.

He, however, said it was quite normal to discuss with the party chief the ''attitude'' of a judge in a case.

Asked by NDTV about the allegation that a Mumbai-based industrialist, who wanted to set up shop in Uttar Pradesh, was advised by Mr Anil Ambani to set apart Rs 25 crore as 'aarti' (gratitude money) to Mr Amar Singh, the SP leader said the term 'aarti' had been misinterpreted.

''It (aarti) does not mean accepting slush money; it rather connotes giving blssings or taking credit. I did talk to the businessman. I also inquired from him how much profit he would be making from the project. But at no point of time did I seek any financial favour from him. There is no talk of any money,'' he told the news channel.

On the conversations with film personalities, he said he enjoyed every right to indulge in light-hearted talks with his friends.

''Nobdoy, neither my wife nor my daughters nor party leaders, have objected to these conversations. So nobody should bother about it.'' Mr Amar Singh also wanted the news channels, including NDTV, to own up the responsibility if the phone-tapping was a sting operation.

UNI SKS/NAZ RP RR PM1602

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