Cash for vote raid on Koda nominee - Cops seize Rs 3.79 lakh, 12 motorbikes from Chakradharpur party office

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By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 8.12.09
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Jamshedpur/Ranchi, Dec 7: With their mentor in jail, candidates of Madhu Koda’s Jai Bharat Samanta Party are having a tough time.

The West Singhbhum police today seized Rs 3.79 lakh from Avinash Purty, the party’s nominee from Chakradharpur after raiding the party’s office this evening after complaints that he was apparently distributing money to buy votes.

The party convener, Vinod Srivastava, denied the allegations, but the police also confiscated a dozen new motorbikes kept at the office, located close to a tribal hostel in Chakradharpur that goes to polls in the fourth phase on Saturday.

Purty is one of eight candidates fielded by the party floated by former chief minister Koda now at the centre of a scam worth Rs 2,000 crore involving illegal personal assets and money laundering.

Koda, along with his former ministerial colleagues, Kamlesh Singh and Anosh Ekka, are in Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi.

West Singhbhum superintendent of police Akhilesh Kumar Jha said the raid was carried out at Jai Bharat party offices in Chakradharpur and Chaibasa on a tip-off that voters were being influenced by money.

“As we found the information to be true, we confiscated the money and also motorcycles used by Purty’s supporters,” he said.

The police have registered a case under non-cognisable section against Purty and his supporters. In Chaibasa, a number of partymen have been rounded up for interrogation.

Srivastava threatened to approach the Election Commission. “The local administration is unnecessarily creating problem for party candidates who have to spend money in the elections. If the Chakradharpur candidate was possessing cash for distributing among his party workers, then what is wrong in it?” he asked.

In Ranchi, Koda and Singh won themselves an unexpected reprieve from interrogation after the vigilance special court did not come out with a decision on their plea to be shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).

Throughout the day, the vigilance team waited for court orders. And by the time the team realised that the orders wouldn’t be coming in today, it was past 5pm and they gave up the idea of interrogating them.

“We will wait for the court orders before resuming interrogation tomorrow,” vigilance officials told The Telegraph, explaining that questioning had to be conducted during daytime as per rules.

Both Koda and Singh were arrested on November 30 for owning assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. Vigilance officials said that on Sunday, a team led by a deputy superintendent of police-ranked officer, Prashant Kumar Karn, had gone to the jail to interrogate the two for nearly an hour.

In the course of the questioning, the officials produced several documents on their assets which they were told to authenticate. The two former ministers were granted a day’s time to come out with satisfactory explanations.

Another former minister, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, surprised vigilance officials when he arrived at the Audrey House headquarters in Ranchi for interrogation, after having failed to do so on three earlier occasions.

“I shall not blame anyone. I shall open my mouth and even expose the men behind the scenes once the electoral process comes to an end on December 23,” he threatened soon after emerging from the building.

“Six of my nominees are contesting the polls on tickets granted by Navjawan Sangharsh Morcha and I am busy in electioneering,” Shahi added.