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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

CBI case against Uttarakhand ex-CM Harish Rawat, two others over ‘horse-trading’

The CBI started a preliminary enquiry (PE) after Harish Rawat was purportedly seen in a sting video negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel MLAs to prove his majority in the state assembly in 2016. Kumar is alleged to have recorded the video.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2019 01:47 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Dehradun
The CBI started a preliminary enquiry (PE) after Harish Rawat was purportedly seen in a sting video negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel MLAs.
The CBI started a preliminary enquiry (PE) after Harish Rawat was purportedly seen in a sting video negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel MLAs.(File photo)
         

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday filed a case against three people, including former Uttarakhand chief minister and Congress leader Harish Rawat, for alleged horse-trading attempts in 2016. Uttarakhand minister Harak Singh Rawat, who defected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the Congress in May 2016, and Samachar Plus news channel editor Umesh Kumar are the other two named in the case.

The CBI started a preliminary enquiry (PE) after Harish Rawat was purportedly seen in a sting video negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel MLAs to prove his majority in the state assembly in 2016. Kumar is alleged to have recorded the video.

The Uttarakhand high court on September 30 allowed the CBI to register a First Information Report [FIR] in the case after the agency submitted its findings to it in a sealed cover saying it has substantial evidence to go ahead with a formal probe in the matter, according to an official familiar with the developments.

Harak Singh Rawat was among the 10 Congress leaders, who rebelled against Rawat and joined the BJP in May 2016.

The President’s rule was later imposed in the state before the BJP formed the government in the state following its victory in the 2017 assembly elections.

The CBI questioned Harish Rawat in May and June 2016. It sent the video to Gandhinagar’s Forensic Science Laboratory, which concluded the recording was genuine and there was no evidence of any “addition/deletion/insertion/tampering/morphing”, according to the CBI.

The three have been booked for criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“[The] PE revealed that after the passage of the finance bill on March 18, 2016, in the Uttarakhand state assembly, dissident MLAs of the Congress along with members from the BJP left Dehradun by a chartered flight and shifted to Gurgaon [now Gurugram],’’ said the FIR.

The FIR added Kumar visited Gurgaon and met Harak Singh Rawat, one of the dissident MLAs, and “entered into a criminal conspiracy for the purpose of demanding gratification from Rawat in lieu of his support to the Congress government.”

Umesh Kumar, Harish Rawat and Harak Singh Rawat did not respond to phone call.

Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana called the FIR a BJP conspiracy against the Congress.

Uttarakhand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ajay Bhatt said the BJP has nothing to with the CBI FIR.