Rajasthan ‘horse trading’ probe: Jain had Rs 100 crore budget to buy 3 MLAs, claims police
Sanjay Jain, the man arrested on charges of offering money to MLAs to topple Ashok Gehlot government, was given a budget of Rs 100 crore to buy out three MLAs, the Special Operations Group (SOG) claims to have found in its investigations.
Jain was arrested on Friday night and is currently in four-day remand of the SOG. “The money game was being controlled from the National Capital Region (NCR),” said police officers, who are part of the investigations.
The SOG is investigating three cases of alleged sedition and conspiracy, including the two based on the audio tapes, in which three people--Jain, Ashok Singh and Bharat Malani – have been arrested. “Singh was tasked to give Rs 25 crore to an Independent MLA,” one of the officers mentioned above alleged.
The three arrested men were middlemen, he claimed.
SOG claims that its preliminary probe into the three cases suggests that Jain was a small link to a long chain trying to lure members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) with crores of rupees to topple the government.
“Both Jain and Singh have strong financial background and political links,” one of the police officers said.
State BJP spokesperson Pankaj Meena however refuted the claims calling it a trap laid by some senior Congress leaders to defame BJP. “Jain has been block president of Congress in Bikaner in past and has nothing to do with our party,” Meena said.
Reacting to the allegations of BJP, Archan Sharma, spokesperson of Congress party highlighted that the audio tape which has surfaced clearly reveals that Jain was acting as middlemen between central leadership of BJP and Sardarshahr MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma to topple the government.
“Jain has been office bearer of BJP and this case it is clear that an attempt was made by him with some central leadership of BJP to topple the government,” Sharma added.
A top police official related to the probe claims that other than Jain, there were at least three to four other chains of people including businessmen and politicians, who were trying to negotiate with Independents and Congress MLAs. The police are trying to trace the chain of links to the handlers behind the alleged attempt to topple the government.
“There have been definite attempts to induce the independents and Congress MLAs and the police has obtained messages and recording to prove that. Messages which talked about arranging money in crores of rupees have been obtained. We are trying to find out the main source of the entire game plan. People like Jain, who was arrested on Friday night, Malani of Ajmer and Singh of Banswara, arrested on July 11, are just the middlemen of different chains,” the police official quoted above added.
On Saturday along with the SOG, crime branch and city police were also roped in to investigate the different aspects of the case.
Jain was called at the SOG on Thursday night for interrogation followed by registration of an FIR on Friday that named him, Sardarshahar MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma and a person identified as Gajendra Singh.
The FIR was registered against the trio on the basis of three audiotapes of purported conversations relating to alleged attempts to destabilise the Gehlot government.
In one audiotape, one of the MLAs can be heard purportedly speaking to another agent discussing the plot.
In another tape, Jain is allegedly introducing one MLA to Singh and one person is heard saying that more legislators are needed to dislodge the Gehlot government and another person responds exuding confidence that the current dispensation would not last long.
In a claim made in a conversation, recorded in another audio clip, one person says Gehlot government is unlikely to last more than 10-15 days.