The Supreme Court has agreed to examine if a court-monitored CBI investigation should continue in connection with allegations of horse-trading in the countermanded Jharkhand Rajya Sabha elections of 2012.
A Bench of Justices R M Lodha and S K Singh issued notices to the Jharkhand government, CBI, Election Commission and state police on a special leave petition filed by the NGO, Jharkhand Against Corruption. The court sought responses within 10 weeks.
The petition, filed through advocate Nirmal Kumar Ambastha, sought the apex court’s intervention against an order passed by the Jharkhand High Court in September last year, whereby the monitoring of the probe by the CBI and the state police was dispensed with.
The High Court had disposed of the petition by the NGO after noting that the probe was being conducted satisfactorily and there was no need to monitor it.
But the petition against this order pointed out that the High Court erred in its conclusion since the CBI as well as the Jharkhand police were yet to complete investigation against three MLAs indicted by the Returning Officer. The Returning Officer had reported to the EC that the trio had shown their ballot papers to persons other than the representative of their own political parties. These MLAs are Vishnu Bhaiya from JMM, K N Tripathi from Congress and Suresh Paswan from RJD.
The petition contended that only one MLA, Seeta Soren from JMM, had been chargesheeted so far and court monitoring was imperative to ensure an expeditious and fair probe. “Prosecution witnesses are being threatened openly by the accused MLAs,” claimed the plea.
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The 2012 biennial Rajya Sabha polls for two seats from Jharkhand were first held on March 30. On the morning of the polls, a car was apprehended by the income tax department carrying Rs 2.15 crore. The car allegedly belonged to a candidate, R K Agrawal. The election was countermanded the next day on recommendation of the EC.