Jharkhand RS polls: CBI searches MLAs' house



Ranchi: The CBI on Saturday raided the premises of three MLAs and an industrialist, an independent candidate in the cancelled March 30 Rajya Sabha poll, and said it wanted to examine the ballot papers used in the poll to know whom the MLAs had voted for following allgations of horse-trading.

There is a mechanism in Rajya Sabha election by which the choice of a particular MLA can be known.

Separate CBI teams searched the premises of MLAs KN Tripathi (Congress) at Palamau, Suresh Paswan (RJD) at Deogarh and Vishnu Bhaiyya (JMM) at Jamtara, besides their houses here, a senior CBI official said here.

The sleuths also carried out raids in the residences of industrialist RK Agarwal, president of the Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce, in Jamshedpur and his son-in-law Soumitra Saha in Chaibasa, the official told PTI.

The CBI seized Rs four lakh in cash, a car and some documents from the Dumka Road house of Vishnu Bhaiyya, according to an official of the CBI team.

Bhaiyya, who was a former BJP MLA and had fought on JMM ticket in 2009, was not in the house during the raid.

RJD MLA Suresh Paswan was taken by the investigators for questioning after the raid was over at his residences in in Deogarh town, Jasidih and Punashi village of the district.

Passbooks and some other documents were seized from Paswan, CBI sources said. A CBI team seized the laptop and bank papers of Congress MLA KN Tripathi's house at Medininagar, the district headquarters town of Palamau, the sources said.

The raid on RK Agarwal's Jamshedpur house was underway till late in the night. CBI officials seized a laptop, a pendrive and some documents during raids in the premises of RK Saha, the owner of Sponge Iron industry, in Chaibasa.

Saha is the father of Agarwal's son-in-law Soumitra. The March 30 RS election was countermanded following allegations that certain candidates were trying to reach the Upper House through horse-trading. Fresh RS election is scheduled to be held here on May three.

The CBI on Thursday lodged an FIR after obtaining the original FIR registered with the Namkum police station following the recovery of Rs 2.15 crore from a vehicle before start of polling on March 30.

The cash was seized from the vehicle registered in the name of Agarwal's brother, Suresh, according to the FIR.

CBI sources said a case has been registered under section 171F and 188 of the IPC. While Section 171F deals with "undue influence or personation" at an election with a maximum punishment of one year or fine or both, Section 188 deals with punishment of six months imprisonment, or fine of 1,000 rupees, or both for disobeying orders of an authority.

Meanwhile, the CBI would also seek to examine the ballot papers used on that day. "We will seek permission from the Election Commission to allow us take the sealed ballot box to know the MLAs' choice of candidates. Otherwise, it would be difficult to nail any accused," the CBI official said.

According to Assembly secretariat sources, though the name of an MLA is not mentioned on the ballot paper during RS polls, it has a hidden number which can be matched with its counterfoil number given in the name of an MLA before voting.

When the number of an used ballot paper is revealed by scratching a layer hiding it, and it is matched with that of the counterfoil, an MLA's choice of candidate becomes known.

The CBI yesterday collected the list of candidates who had contested the March 30 elections and their proposers.

The sealed ballot box is now kept in the strong room at the assembly secretariat.

PTI