New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The CBI on Thursday summoned ousted Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to Delhi for questioning on Monday in a corruption case after he was shown in a “sting” video offering bribes to buy legislative support for his government, officials said.
The summon comes after the CBI on April 29 began probing the videographed “sting operation” allegedly showing Rawat offering money to rebel Congress lawmakers to win their support during a floor test in the 70-member house.
The floor test never took place.
The sting video was shot by a Noida-based private TV channel, Samachar Plus, and released by the rebel Congress legislators who crossed over to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP had alleged that Rawat had tried to buy back the support of his own lawmakers who rebelled against him. Rawat has denied the allegation, saying he was being framed.
The union home ministry sent a CD of the video to the forensics laboratory in Chandigarh to examine its authenticity.
A source in the Central Bureau of Investigation said the forensic report “confirmed” that the CD was genuine and “undoctored”, after “which Harish Rawat was asked to appear on Monday for questioning”.
The source said CBI officials have also questioned property developer-turned-journalist Umesh Kumar, who claimed to have carried out the sting operation.
“Umesh accepted he conducted the sting operation,” the source told IANS.
A rebel Congress legislator has also been questioned.
The source said he told the CBI that Rawat called him to his office and offered him Rs.2.5 crore and an important post if he supported him.
Another minister in the Rawat government offered the same legislator Rs.10 crore for the support, the source said.
Uttarakhand is without an elected government after Rawat was dismissed following a rebellion in the ruling Congress. The central government imposed President’s Rule in the state on March 27.
Rawat has challenged the presidential proclamation and the matter is being heard by the Supreme Court.
The top court has suggested to the BJP-led central government to let Rawat prove his legislative majority on the floor of the house.
The central government on Wednesday sought two days to “seriously consider” the suggestion. The case comes for hearing on Friday.