The Telegraph
Thursday , July 3 , 2014
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Police rejig on Khalkho probe

The very public spat between Chotanagpur range DIG Praveen Kumar Singh and city DSP P.N. Singh over the probe into the 2013 mayoral election cash-for-vote scam has forced DGP Rajeev Kumar to take drastic steps to stop any more embarrassment of the police department.

In an official order, the DGP has instructed Ranchi zonal IG M.S. Bhatia to monitor and supervise the ongoing investigation.

The order has not mentioned the role or jurisdiction of the DIG in this case but it is widely believed to be an indication that the DIG would no longer have any say.

Ranchi zonal IG Bhatia accepted having received a communiqué from the DGP in this regard but refused to speak on the matter.

But insiders said DGP Kumar’s move also came apparently in the wake of state Election Commission’s letter to him last month where it sought a status report on the mayoral poll scam probe and expressed concerns over investigation not moving into the right direction.

Election Commission secretary (state) Umesh Prasad Singh confirmed a letter was written to the DGP.

This March, DIG Singh in his review of the mayoral poll scam in April 2013 — in which Rs 21.90 lakh in cash was found in a hotel a day before the poll allegedly for use by the Congress-backed Rama Khalkho camp to buy votes — said many “innocent” people were implicated.

The ongoing probe so far has implicated many in the Congress camp — from former Ranchi MP and Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay and his younger brother Sunil, to local leader Niranjan Sharma said to be close to the Sahays, some aides such as Santosh Singh and Sudhir Sahu, and Khalkho herself.

DIG Singh instructed DSP Singh, the investigating officer of the case, to make a fresh probe.

The DIG had also questioned the deployment of certain sections of the IPC and the PC Act in the case.

But, the DSP had refused to toe the DIG’s line.

In the June 23 poll, Khalkho, who contested again, lost badly, finishing fourth.

Though voter turnout was a slim 17 per cent, the BJP-backed candidate Asha Lakra won by a thumping margin.