Ranchi, Sept. 5: Cabinet minister Simon Marandi, JMM’s Littipara MLA, suffered a legal setback today when the special CBI court of R.K. Choudhary directed him to give the CBI his voice sample to aid the agency’s investigations in the 2010 Rajya Sabha cash-for-vote scam, in which he is an accused.
The CBI wanted Simon’s voice sample to match it with the television footage of a sting operation conducted by a news channel in 2010, where he was taped expressing his willingness to vote for a candidate in exchange of money.
A voice sample match will prove the authenticity of the television footage.
Simon had steadfastly refused to give his voice sample, citing provisions in Indian Evidence Act (1872) and Constitution to say that he was not legally bound to do so, which finally forced the CBI to move court on Monday.
The CBI court’s directive has come as a shot in the arm of the investigating agency.
“The court’s decision means a lot. It has asked the minister to cooperate with us as required,” a CBI official said.
A CBI insider added that now the agency would serve a fresh notice upon Simon with the copy of court order.
Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls in 2010, Simon, his party colleague Teklal Mahto, as well as Rajesh Ranjan, Sawna Lakra, Yogendra Sao (all Congress) and Umashankar Akela (BJP), were allegedly caught on camera seeking money for votes. Mahto died in September 2011.
When Vigilance Bureau couldn’t make headway, Jharkhand High Court handed the case to the CBI this January.