Jharkhand ignoring ECI order, shielding CM’s confidantes accused of horse trading
BJP candidates Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Mahesh Poddar bagged the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, election for which was held on June 11 last year.ranchi Updated: Jul 01, 2017 09:28 IST
RJD chief Lalu Prasad accused BJP ruled Jharkhand government of ignoring the Election Commission of India (ECI) order and shielding chief minister Raghubar Das’ two close associates charged with adopting corrupt practices to influence 2016 Rajya Sabha biennial polls.
“The ECI had asked Jharkhand chief secretary to immediately initiate criminal proceedings against Das’ political adviser, Ajay Kumar and an additional director general (ADG) rank police officer Anurag Gupta for their alleged role in horse trading to influence the 2016 RS polls,” Prasad said, adding, “It happens in every BJP ruled state where the guilty enjoy government protection.”
Prasad, who appeared before a special CBI court in Ranchi on Thursday to face the trial in a fodder scam case, replied to media query as to why the Jharkhand government was sitting tight over the ECI’s directive. He said, “FIR must be lodged against the duo.”
BJP candidates Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Mahesh Poddar bagged the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, election for which was held on June 11 last year. Out of total 81 MLAs, 79 cast their votes while JMM legislator Chamra Linda and Congress legislator Devendra Singh failed to exercise their franchise.
Soon after the elections, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Progressive) chief Babulal Marandi brought horse trading charges against the ruling BJP, alleging that some people at the helm of power adopted corrupt practices to influence the legislators to secure their votes in favour of BJP candidates.
He also filed a complaint with the ECI annexing with it a compact disc (CD) that contained telephonic conversations between ADG Anurag Gupta, CM’s political adviser, Ajay Kumar and a former Congress minister Yogendra Sao, whose wife Nirmala Devi is a sitting legislator.
Finding the allegations prima facie true, the ECI had issued a letter to the state chief secretary on June 13, 2017, asking her to immediately initiate criminal proceedings and departmental disciplinary action against the accused persons for misuse of official position, interference in elections, breach of conduct/service rules and other relevant offences.
Jharkhand hit the headlines in 2010 and 2012 Rajya Sabha biennial polls, which saw victory of some independent candidates amid allegations of horse trading. The ECI had to countermand the polls held on March 30, 2012.
The CBI which probed it filed charge sheets against five former legislators Simon Marandi (JMM), Yogendra Sao (Congress), Sawna Lakra (Congress), Rakesh Ranjan (Congress) and Uma Shankar Akela (BJP), allegedly for demanding Rs 1 to 2 crore bribe to cast their votes in the manner desired by the payer in 2010 election.
In 2012 countermanded polls, the CBI filed charge sheet against JMM legislator Sita Soren, daughter-in-law of party chief Sibu Soren, alleging that she took Rs 1.5 crore bribe from an independent contestant and Jamshedpur based industrialist, RK Agarwal, to cast her vote in his favour.