Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), which has been headless since May when its president R.K. Agrawal was jailed in connection with the 2012 Rajya Sabha cash-for-vote scam, will go to polls on September 24, three months ahead of schedule.
The 62nd annual general meeting of the biggest trade outfit of Kolhan will follow the election. However, it is not clear if Agrawal will be able to chair the meeting. In his absence, the onus will lie on a senior vice-president.
According to SCCI general secretary Vijay Anand Moonka, the biennial election will be held at Chamber Bhavan in Bistupur from 1pm to 4pm.
“Nominations can be filed from September 16 to 18. This will be followed by scrutiny on September 19 and candidates can withdraw their names till 8pm on September 20. The new group that will come to power will have 11 office-bearers and 23 executive committee members,” he added.
The polls will be conducted under the supervision of electoral officers Murlidhar Kedia, R.N. Gupta, Gopal Harlalka, P.S. Sen, Deepak Dokania and Pannalal Gautam. Around 1,300-odd members of SCCI will vote.
If the incumbent committee headed by Agrawal had completed its term, election would have been held in December. But Agrawal’s arrest in the cash stash case forced SCCI to bring forward the polls as it has been without a president for the past three months.
However, the outfit’s office-bearers continue to stress that election had been scheduled in keeping with the Companies Act. “The Agrawal factor has no bearing on early polls. The act has been kept in mind,” a senior functionary claimed.
The business community is gearing up for the poll process, with various factions holding meetings to discuss likely candidates for the all-important president’s post.
An Independent candidate in the countermanded Rajya Sabha election of March 30, 2012, Agrawal was arrested after Rs 2.15 crore was seized from an SUV owned by his brother, hours before the polls in Namkum, Ranchi.
The Adityapur industrialist, who owns a chemical firm, had initially surrendered and managed to get bail on April 9 on the grounds that he was not named in the police FIR.
The CBI worked overtime to add Sections 7, 8 and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, dealing with bribe involving a public servant in exchange of undue favours. The bail was cancelled and Agrawal arrested on May 14.