Ansari gives nod to CBI for trial, JD-U MP warns of defamation

New Delhi/Patna, April 15 (IANS) Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Hamid Ansari has given the CBI sanction to prosecute Janata Dal-United member Anil Sahani for alleged fraud in leave travel concessions, sources said on Friday. Sahani, however, denied any wrong-doing and warned of defamation case.

The scam relates to reimbursements being claimed against fake boarding passes and bills from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

This is the first time a Rajya Sabha chairman has given such a clearance, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat sources said.

A CBI official told IANS a charge sheet in the case was filed last year, and with the clearance from the Rajya Sabha chairman, the agency will now proceed with “further action” which is likely to be arrest of the MP.

Members of parliament or assemblies cannot be arrested without prior permission of the speaker of the Lok Sabha or the assembly or Rajya Sabha or legislative council chairman.

While this is the first time that the Rajya Sabha chairman has given such a permission, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar twice sanctioned arrests, first in 2010 against Congress MP Rajaram Pal in the cash-for-query scam, and second time against BJP MP Ashok Argal in the cash-for-vote case.

It was revealed that Sahani and three other accused allegedly used forged e-tickets and fake boarding passes to defraud the Rajya Sabha of Rs.23.71 lakh.

In Patna, Sahani, however, denied the charge.

“Under a parliamentary procedure, permission will have to be given. They are saying I took Rs.23 lakh, if I have even 23 paisa in my account I will resign,” he said.

“It is a conspiracy against me because I raise issues related to poor and Dalit.”

“I will ask the chairman, I have given all documents and account statements which prove I did not take any money. How is the CBI prosecuting me then?” he added.

Sahani termed it a conspiracy being hatched against him and threatened to file defamation case soon.

“Some powerful people have conspired against me, they don not want that a poor’s son sit in the parliament to raise issues concerning Dalits and marginalized. I have nothing to do with cheating and corruption in the LTC Scam. I will file defamation case against them,” he told media in Patna.

Shahani said that he is a victim of a “racket” which operated in raising fake bills for LTC for parliamentarians.

“In fact, it was I who drew attention of the concerned authorities twice in 2013 about false bill submitted in my name by racketeers against LTC,” he said.

“After CBI submitted charges against me to Hamid Ansari, he should have asked me to explain but Ansari has given approval to prosecute me without enquiring with me. It is a political conspiracy,” Shahani said.

The parliament member said he would invite the probe agency to check his bank accounts in Delhi and Patna to ascertain flow of money on this count.

The Bihar MP is reportedly the first from the upper house who will be prosecuted by the CBI after sanction was given by Chairman Ansari.

The CBI had filed the charge sheet against Sahani alleging that he, in collusion with other people, used forged e-tickets and fake boarding passes to defraud the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to the tune of Rs.23.71 lakh as travel and dearness allowance reimbursement without undertaking the actual journey.

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