Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) simultaneously swooped down on the homes of 32 Jharkhand MLAs across the state as well as in West Bengal and Bihar on Thursday in connection with alleged horse trading in the countermanded biennial Rajya Sabha polls.
The CBI started the raids from 6:00 AM at the homes of 32 MLAs including at least one cabinet minister of the Arjun Munda-led government in Ranchi.
The MLAs include those from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which is part of the BJP-led coalition government here, such as Paulus Sureen, Sita Soren and others.
The CBI also raided the house of All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party's minister Chandra Prakash Choudhary, who is in charge of labour, rural works and building and construction and other AJSU MLAs including KK Bhagat.
Concluding the raid at Choudhary's residence, a CBI official said, "We have been conducting raids at multiple locations since the morning."
Choudhary said, "They presented a warrant and I made my house and offices available both here and in my home constituency. After searching through various papers and my computer hard disk, they took away some bank statements and related documents."
The 2012 biennial Rajya Sabha polls for two seats from Jharkhand were first held on March 30. On the morning of the polls, a car was apprehended by the income tax department sleuths carrying Rs 2.15 crore. The car allegedly belongs to one of the candidates, RK Agrawal. The election was countermanded the very next day on the recommendation of the election commission of India.
Acting on a PIL, the Jharkhand High Court had directed that the investigation be handed over to the CBI taking note of the allegations of "large scale horse-trading". In April, CM Arjun Munda had give his 'no objections' to the CBI conducting the inquiry into the countermanded polls.
Incidentally, the CBI raid comes the morning after Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda was discharged from Apollo hospital after a nine-day stay. The CM was undergoing treatment for injuries to his spine and ankle, received when his helicopter crashed on May 9.