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Kidnap FIR on Sita Soren

- JMM First Family: one seeks power, another allegedly abuses it

Ranchi, Dec. 25: Ranchi police today registered an FIR against JMM legislator Sita Soren — one of several politicians being probed by the CBI over allegations of exchange of cash in the countermanded Rajya Sabha polls on March 30 — for allegedly kidnapping a witness last evening in the state capital.

Vikas Pandey, who was the personal assistant of the Jama MLA at the time of the Rajya Sabha elections, was allegedly abducted by Sita with the help of two bodyguards near Sahajanand Chowk in Harmu Housing Colony under Argora police station around 7.30pm.

Pandey’s wife Reena lodged the FIR, under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the IPC, with Argora police.

“When my husband was returning home on a motorbike around 7.30pm, Sita Soren, who was in a white SUV, overtook him and asked him to stop. She dragged him into her four-wheeler with the help of two bodyguards and took him to her official residence at Sector II, Dhurwa, and beat him black and blue. She mounted pressure on him to change his statement given before the court in the Rajya Sabha election case,” an officer at Argora police station quoted from the FIR.

The section under which the FIR had been registered is a cognisable offence that provides for seven-year imprisonment and penalty after trial in the magistrate’s court.

Sita, the widow of JMM chief Shibu Soren’s son Durga, could not be contacted despite repeated phone calls. On the other hand, guards at her residence said the MLA was not in Dhurwa.

Senior superintendent of police Saket Kumar Singh, however, said the JMM leader had denied the incident.

“In a statement to the police,” Singh said, “Sita Soren denied the allegation, claiming that Pandey, who was her personal assistant earlier, had come to her residence on his own and charges against her of beating him were false.”

The SSP said though the statement of Pandey’s wife was recorded last night, an FIR could not be formally registered then, “as protecting the victim was our priority”.

“After the victim was found yesterday around 10.30pm, the FIR was formally registered today,” he said.

Reena, a mother of three, told The Telegraph her husband could have been killed had the police not rescued him.

“My husband was returning home with one of his friends on a motorbike after purchasing vegetables at Naga Baba Khatal when Sita Soren overtook him and asked him to stop using abusive language,” she said.

She added that she approached Argora police after learning about the incident.

“After police swung into action, my husband was brought from Sita Soren’s residence. He had injuries all over his body,” she said.

Pandey was “not talking to anyone after the incident”, she added.

Earlier this year, CBI had conducted raids at the residences of over 20 MLAs, including Sita, and a former member of the Rajya Sabha.

The investigating agency had registered a case on the direction of Jharkhand High Court after the police recovered Rs 2.15 crore in cash from a car allegedly belonging to a kin of Independent candidate and Jamshedpur-based trader R.K. Agarwal on the day of the polling (March 30).

The election was held again on May 3.