The CBI on Tuesday revealed that the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator Sita Soren had received Rs. 1.5 crore from an independent contestant, RK Agarwal, of countermanded 2012 Rajya Sabha polls to cast her vote in his favour.
The revelation came in through CBI’s chargesheet submitted against six accused of horse-trading case including Soren, who is JMM chief Sibu Soren’s daughter-in-law and Jama legislator.
Submitting the chargesheet before the court of special CBI judge RK Choudhary, the CBI stated that it had so far collected several evidences indicating that MLA Soren had received Rs. 1.5 crore from Agarwal while another independent contestant Dhoot had offered her Rs. 2.5 crore to cast her vote in the manner desired by the payer.
It stated that the investigation was still on and the agency was looking into more evidences to prove the complicity of other legislators in the horse-trading case.
The agency also submitted chargesheet against Bad Naren Majhi, a resident of Orissa and Soren’s father, Rajendra Mandal, Soren’s close associate and son of former JMM MLA Suraj Mandal, and Sunil Kumar Maheshwari, a resident of Kolkata and Dhoot’s close agent.
The CBI, in its chargesheet, stated that Soren’s father Majhi used to manage her tainted and ill-gotten money. Her close associate Rajendra Mandal was closely involved in money deals. It submitted that Dhoot’s close agent Maheshwari had offered money to the legislators for casting their votes. The agency is in possession of evidences indicating that he had offered Rs. 2.5 crore to Soren.
Sources in the CBI said that the agency was preparing to file chargesheet against more persons in the case including legislators.
The issue relates to seizure of Rs. 2.15 crore cash from a SUV bearing registration number JH-05AC-2185 on March 30, 2012 in Ranchi, a few hours ahead of the voting for two Rajya Sabha seats from the State. The vehicle used for transportation of the money from Jamshedpur to Ranchi belonged to Agarwal’s bother and the cash belonged to Agarwal’s son-in-law Saumitra Shah. It was alleged that the money was meant to purchase votes in favour of Agarwal.
However, the election commission of India had countermanded the polls and the matter was handed over to the CBI from the state police in April last year.
The CBI, in May, 2012, had raided residences of 15 sitting MLAs and other suspected people. From the scrutiny of seized ballot boxes of the countermanded Rajya Sabha election, the CBI found that the said legislators had voted defying party directives and violating the provisions of open ballot system. The agency also found that the legislators demanded money from contestants for proposing the name, for casting first and second preference votes as well as invalidating their votes. Rate slabs were different for different purposes.