Ranchi, Jan. 28: High drama marked the Monday session of Jharkhand High Court when it rapped vigilance bureau for its delay in probing the horse-trading in the 2010 Rajya Sabha elections and handed the case to CBI.
As the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Tatia and Justice Jaya Roy observed the “deliberate attempt to shield culprits who disturbed the constitutional machinery”, vigilance additional director general of police Neeraj Sinha seemed to stumble and faint in the packed courtroom.
The bench summoned the doctor from the court dispensary who said Sinha was fine.
The court ordered the CBI to not just take over the investigations of the 2010 case from vigilance but also probe the involvement of sleuths conducting the probe so far.
In 2010, six MLAs were caught in a CNN-IBN sting operation negotiating a cash deal for electing Rajya Sabha candidates. The elections saw moneyed candidates — Alchemist Group chairman K.D. Singh from JMM and businessman Dheeraj Sahu from Congress — being elected to the Upper House.
Two-and-half years on, not much progress has been made in the case even though those caught on camera comprised MLAs Sawna Lakra, Yogendra Sao and Rajesh Ranjan of the Congress, Uma Shankar Akela of BJP as well as JMM’s Simon Marandi and Teklal Mahto (now deceased).
“The matter is very serious and vigilance has not achieved any breakthrough yet, which is very strange,” the bench observed. While disposing the matter, the bench added that the CBI was already investigating the alleged horse-trading in the 2012 Rajya Sabha polls and had made noteworthy progress.
Commenting on the actions of the vigilance bureau, the court added that the sole outfit in the state machinery to check corruption put itself under the scanner as it seemed to help the accused by making no progress in the cash-for-votes case.
The case came up in a PIL filed by Jharkhand Against Corruption, an outfit led by activist Durga Oraon.
Oraon’s counsel Rajeev Kumar told the court that vigilance bureau had started the probe in 2010.