Rajasthan police recovers Rs 1.25 crore in MLA horse trading probe, suspects being questioned
Rajasthan police’s special operations group (SOG) which is probing the alleged horse-trading attempts to bring down Ashok Gehlot government has claimed to have recovered Rs 1.25 crore from the possession of three people, who are being questioned, reported officials quoted by a news agency.
“In an operation by the special operations group (SOG) in Udaipur, Rs 1.25 crore was recovered from the possession of three people in two cars. They are being questioned regarding the money,” ANI posted a statement attributing it to the SOG and the ATS (anti terror squad) of Rajasthan police, both involved in investigating the cases surrounding the alleged plot to overthrow the state government primarily using lure of money.
The SOG had earlier last week arrested three persons including one Sanjay Jain, who it alleged, has been enticing Congress MLAs and independent legislators by offering them money to ditch the Congress-ruled government in the statement. The unit claims that the other two arrested in the case -- Ashok Singh and Bharat Malani – are all suspected middlemen.
On Sunday, officials in the SOG had claimed that Sanjay Jain was given a budget of Rs 100 crore to buy out three MLAs including Rs 25 crore for an Independent MLA.
The developments follow allegations by Congress leadership that Congress rebel and former deputy chief minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot and his 18 loyal MLAs from the Congress party were directly involved in the plot to overthrow the government in cahoots with the BJP, the principal opposition party in the state. Pilot and the BJP have denied the allegations and accused Rajasthan chief minister of using horse-trading allegations as a ruse to sideline Sachin Pilot, a contender for chief minister’s position in the state.
The SOG, however, claims that the investigations point to a deeper political controversy. It alleged Jain was a “small link” to a “long chain” trying to topple the government.
“Both Jain and Singh have strong financial background and political links,” one of the police officers had said on Sunday without naming the backers.
SOG’s efforts to question one of the rebel MLAs—Bhanwar Lal Sharma—have not been successful so far, since he remains ensconced in a Haryana hotel with other rebels close to Sachin Pilot.
Rajasthan police’s director general Bhupendra Yadav has written to his counterparts in Haryana and Delhi and sought their cooperation in conducting the probe. Rajasthan police claims Bhanwarlal Sharma’s voice was one the three audio clips that refer to the plot to bring down Gehlot government. The SOG was held up by Haryana police when they late last week tried to raid the hotel where rebels including Sharma are said to be staying.
The BJP has accused the Gehlot government of unauthorised phone tapping of politicians and demanded a CBI probe into the matter. However, the state government withdrew the general consent accorded to the central agency to probe cases in the state, making permission from the state a prerequisite for any CBI probe in its jurisdiction.