Cash for vote: BJP files petition against Prez son

The alleged cash-for-vote issue may jeopardize the political career of Congress MLA from Amravati Raosaheb Shekhawat (son of President Pratibha Patil) and Maharashtra minister of state for finance Rajendra Mulak (a confidante of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan).

india Updated: Feb 15, 2012 21:53 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Hindustan Times

The alleged cash-for-vote issue may jeopardize the political career of Congress MLA from Amravati Raosaheb Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil and Maharashtra minister of state for finance Rajendra Mulak, a confidante of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. The BJP on Wednesday, filed an intervention petition before the judicial magistrate district, alleging that the Rs 1-crore cash seized from a vehicle belonging to a Congress leader ahead of the February 16 Amravati civic polls was "black money."

In an intervention petition filed by Amravati district BJP president Pradip Shingore through his lawyer VL Naolani, alleged that many Congress politicians, including a Maharashtra minister, were involved in the ‘cashgate’ and there was a need for an indepth investigation.

The petitioner also alleged that the ruling Congress was trying to hush up the case and was pressurizing the investigation agency. Hence, Shingore appealed for a threadbare probe into the case by an independent high-level agen

The Amravati police on Sunday seized Rs 1-crore just days ahead of the February 16 Amravati civic polls. The money, it is believed, was sent with the help of a Nagpur-based businessman -- which the MPCC later claimed to be party fund -- meant to be distributed among "poor" Congress candidates in the poll fray for smooth electioneering.

Taking a serious cognizance of the issue, the State Election Commission served notices on Shekhawat and Mulak. Responding to the notices, both Mulak and Shekhawat on Wednesday sought time till February 21 for reply.

The district collector Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal on Wednesday granted time to reply to the counsels of Shekhawat and Mulak in this regard. He, however, said that the transaction of money violated the rules of RBI that specifically said that any transaction exceeding Rs 20,000 should be by cheque, and not cash.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Shekhawat said that he sought money from MPCC as most of party candidates were economically poor and several others were new to electoral politics. However, the MPCC did not inform him about the mode of the money to be sent either cash or cheque.

"Now the money which was seized by the police was deposited with the state treasury. This caused hardship to our candidates who are fighting the February 16 elections," he pointed out. The Congress leader sent a request letter to Amravati police that the money be returned on the basis of the MPCC letter. "We are not getting cooperation from the police in this regard," he said.

Shekhawat requested the MPCC to send fresh tranche in view of the development. "But, no one is responding on my request," he further added.

The money was sourced from the Nagpur-based businessman and the money was ‘on purpose’ transported in a Ford SUV belonging to Mulak so as to evade any questioning by the police and other authorities.

It is alleged that the money was essentially sent to ‘lure voters’. The MPCC sending a letter to the Amravati police staking claim over the money to contain the damage, doesn’t seem to find many takers.

First Published: Feb 15, 2012 21:52 IST