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Sita aide surrenders in court

- CBI on lookout for JMM MLA’s father in cash-stash scam

Ranchi, March 10: Rajendra Mandal, a close aide of JMM MLA Sita Soren and one of the six accused in the 2012 Rajya Sabha cash-for-vote scam, surrendered before the special CBI court of R.K. Choudhary in Ranchi this morning.

A cornered Mandal took the step after his boss Sita surrendered on February 25.

Currently, Sita is in judicial custody, but is staying at RIMS in the well-worn tradition of Jharkhand’s arrested politicians.

The CBI court, which issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Mandal in July last year, remanded him to judicial custody till March 21. Mandal has been forwarded to Birsa Munda Central Jail.

Now, the agency is on the look out for Sita’s father B.N. Manjhi, a former employee of Indian Oil Corporation and an accused in the cash-stash case.

Mandal, the son of former JMM MP Suraj Mandal, had allegedly brokered Sita’s deal with Independent Rajya Sabha candidate, Jamshedpur-based industrialist R.K. Agrawal to cast her vote in his favour.

Sita allegedly got Rs 1.5 crore from Agrawal, who has been in judicial custody since May 2013.

The March 30, 2012, Rajya Sabha poll was countermanded after the income tax department and Ranchi police jointly seized Rs 2.15 crore from an SUV belonging to a relative of Agrawal near Ranchi, hours before voting. On April 5, 2012, Jharkhand High Court asked Election Commission to hand over the case to the CBI.

Following the directive, the CBI’s anti-corruption branch lodged an FIR (RC 2(S)/12) on April 19, 2012, under sections of IPC 120B 171E. “We have enough evidence against him,” CBI DSP A.K. Jha said.

With Mandal’s surrender, three accused are in judicial custody, while two others — independent candidate and Calcutta-based businessman Pawan Kumar Dhoot and his election agent Sunil Kumar Maheshwari — are out on bail.

Assault case

Firecracker mogul Kamal Singhania and his brother Jai surrendered before the civil court of S.H. Kazmi in connection with an attack on I-T officials in October last year. The court remanded them to 14-day judicial custody. Another accused, Vimal Singhania, is missing.

The Singhanias had allegedly attacked five I-T officials, including assistant commissioner Vidya Ratna Kishore, during a raid at their shop Trade Friends at Upper Bazar.

An FIR was lodged against them at Kotwali thana under sections 323, (causing hurt), 341/42 (unlawful assembly), 307 (attempt to murder) and 353 (assault to prevent public servant from discharging duty) of the IPC. The court issued non-bailable arrest warrants.