The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested industrialist R.K. Agarwal, an independent candidate in the biennial Rajya Sabha elections from Jharkhand last year. He is one of the main accused in the cash-for-votes scam.
Mr. Agarwal had surrendered to the court on April 1. He was arrested on Tuesday after Special CBI court judge R.K. Choudhary rejected his bail plea, putting aside a lower court order that had granted him bail. Senior CBI officials said that Mr. Agarwal had been sent to 14-day judicial remand for interrogation.
The CBI is investigating a media sting where six MLAs were caught on tape in the 2010 Rajya Sabha biennial election, expressing willingness to accept money in exchange for voting for a particular candidate. The biennial election had been countermanded by the Election Commission after Rs. 2.15 crore had been seized from Mr. Agarwal’s aide in Namkum in Ranchi.
The scam was first investigated by the State vigilance department and handed over to the CBI this year. On April 4, the CBI had raided the premises of 13 persons, including nine MLAs — five MLAs of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), three of the Congress, and one of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) — and four private persons and seized investment documents and IT returns. It had conducted raids in more than 25 locations in Jharkhand and Assam.
On February 21 it had raided the premises of BJP’s Uma Shankar Akela, JMM’s Simon Marandi and Congress’ Yogendra Sao and Rajesh Ranjan.