Election Commission recommends detailed probe by CBI into allegations of bribery
Ending uncertainty over the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka after allegations of bribery came out in two ‘sting videos’, the Election Commission on Thursday said that the elections will go on as per schedule.
However, it recommended a detailed probe be conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The EC has also asked for an FIR against JD(S) MLA Mallikarjun Khuba.
In a seven-page order, the Commission said that it is not satisfied that the conditions in Karnataka were ‘so vitiated’ by the allegations that the polls should not be permitted to continue. ‘’The Commission has decided not to Defer the Poll Scheduled to be held on the 11th June, 2016, nor to make any recommendation to the President for rescinding the electoral process for the biennial election under reference,’’ said the order by the EC released late Thursday.
The decision will come as a breather for both the incumbent Congress in the state as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which had requested that the polling should continue as per schedule. Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), a regional party led by former prime minister H.D. Devegowda, had demanded that the election be cancelled.
A sting video telecast by news channels showed some legislators allegedly willing to exchange their votes for cash. The order of the Commission has come just two days ahead of the polling which is scheduled for Saturday. Mint has not verified these these clips.
‘’The Election Commission cannot ignore to take contingence of the aforesaid 7 illegal activities, as appeared in media including the TV channels. Such illegal activity, if proved, needs to be duly punished under section 171B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),’’ the order said, adding that since Khuba is a public servant, a deeper probe is required to find the role, if any, of any other MLAs in the ‘sordid’ episode. 171 B of the IPC deals with the offence of bribery.
‘’Therefore, the Commission holds that an FIR be lodged against Mallikarjuna Khuba and others and the whole matter be entrusted to the Central Bureau of Investigation for such deeper probe so that all those who may be involved in such nefarious activities are exposed and duly punished under the Law,’’ the order added.
The EC has directed the returning officer of the Rajya Sabha polls in Karnataka to file an FIR against Khuba and others and has said it is going to separately address the ministry of personnel, pensions, public grievance and administrative reforms for the CBI probe.
elections are being held in four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka. There are five main contenders in the fray, including Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Oscar Fernandes.