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Since 1st March, 1999
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Opp meets governor for Rai, Ekka removal

Ranchi, Nov. 28: The Opposition BJP today stepped up efforts for the ouster of Anosh Ekka and Harinarayan Rai who have been booked under a disproportionate assets case by the vigilance bureau.

The FIR was lodged on November 26 after a directive issued by a vigilance court.

The BJP, led by Opposition leader Arjun Munda, called on Governor Syed Sibtey Razi and demanded the ministers’ dismissal. He pleaded that the governor should intervene, as, he added, chief minister Shibu Soren has “refused” to remove them, despite “serious charges”. The BJP said it would not be possible for the bureau to make a “fair” inquiry against the two as long as they are cabinet members.

The governor, Munda said, assured to take note of the matter.

Meanwhile, the vigilance bureau is readying a detailed questionnaire through which Rai and Ekka are expected to make their stand clear. The bureau would be interrogating close associates of the ministers. Sources said the bureau would summon complainant Kumar Vinod to discuss the case and help the agency to take the case to its logical end.

Talking to the reporters today, inspector-general (IG) M.V. Rao denied that the bureau was under pressure to go “slow” on the investigation. “We will conduct the probe in a manner expected from an investing agency,” he said.

He, however, declined to commit to a timeframe by which the case would be complete. “We do not know the case magnitude, so, it is difficult to commit to a case deadline,” he said.

The Congress that raked up the issue during the Madhu Koda regime has not made a removal cry as yet. State Congress chief Pradeep Balmuchu said the party was in favour of an impartial probe. “A mere FIR does not make a person guilty,” he argued.

Balmuchu added that Jharkhand High Court is also hearing a PIL on the issue. “So, even if the probe is delayed under some sort of government pressure, they can not protect themselves for a long time,” he stressed.

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