Two-member team of the Election Commission of India (ECI) reached Ranchi on Tuesday to probe into the allegations of horse-trading and use of state machinery in the Rajya Sabha polls that were held in the state on June 11. The BJP had won both the seats, the second one by a narrow margin, following which the opposition had jointly complained against the BJP in EC.
An Election Commission official confirmed that the two member team comprising Principal Secretary K F Wilfred and Secretary N N Butolia reached the state capital this morning. Notices had earlier been sent to two of the MLAs, Congress’s Nirmala Devi (Barkagaon) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Chamra Linda (Bishunpur), besides Nirmala’s husband Yogendra Sao. A notice was also sent to Panki’s Congress MLA Devendra Singh on Tuesday.
While Sao and Linda appeared before the team at the state guest house, Devendra Singh and Nirmala didnt turn up. An aide of Nirmala Devi said that she sustained injuries in her leg after coming out of a meeting of farmers with Jharkhand CM at the Project Building headquarters. “She has now been admitted to RIMS and the team also physically verified her presence there. Further time has been sought,” said her aide.
Devendra Singh’s aide, who met the team, said, “We got the notice only around 2 pm. The MLA was in Palamu. It wouldn’t have been possible to reach here in time. We sought further time extension.” Linda could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.
While Devendra Singh had not voted, leading to probe by his party against him, Nirmala Devi participated in the polls amid high drama. BJP’s second candidate, Mahesh Poddar, won on the basis of higher second preference votes against JMM’s Basant Soren.
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha had released a CD alleging CM Das and ADG level officer, Anurag Gupta, of trying to influence the MLAs using state machinery. The CD purportedly contained conversations between Sao, Gupta and some other people.