The Jharkhand high court on Thursday directed the Election Commission (EC) to seek a CBI probe into allegations of use of money power in the March 30 Rajya Sabha polls in the state. The allegation had led to countermanding of the elections to two seats.
“It is a success against corruption. We feel stronger now... We will now order a CBI probe into the matter,” said chief election commissioner SY Quraishi.
The polls were countermanded following the seizure by income tax officials of Rs. 2.15 crore from a car on the outskirts of Ranchi hours before polling
started. An investigation revealed the money, on its way to Ranchi from Jamshedpur, belonged to the relative of an Independent candidate and was meant for bribing electors (only legislators vote in Rajya Sabha polls).
The EC immediately stayed the counting of votes and recommended to the President that the elections be cancelled.
Hailing this decision, the high court slapped a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on former state Youth Congress president Jay Shankar Pathak for filing a frivolous PIL challenging the EC’s authority and also dismissed Congress candidate Pradeep Balmuchu’s petition questioning the poll panel’s jurisdiction. The court said the EC had acted within the ambit of its constitutional powers.
The verdict paves the way for the announcement of a fresh schedule for elections, and Quraishi said a decision on this would be taken soon.
With PTI inputs