Ahmed Patel paid bribes to Congress MLAs during 2017 Rajya Sabha poll: Balvantsinh Rajput to HC

Rajput had then moved the high court seeking to quash the election accusing the Congress leader of indulging in corrupt practise of bribery and undue influence-- a charge denied by Patel.

Published: 29th January 2019 02:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2019 02:42 AM   |  A+A-

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel (File | PTI)

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: Congress leader Ahmed Patel paid "gratification" to his party's MLAs who were not inclined to support him in the Rajya Sabha election, BJP leader Balvantsinh Rajput alleged before the Gujarat High Court Monday.

Patel won the election by defeating Rajput in August last year.

Rajput had then moved the high court seeking to quash the election accusing the Congress leader of indulging in "corrupt practise of bribery and undue influence"-- a charge denied by Patel.

In an affidavit before Justice Bela Trivedi, Rajput alleged that Patel spent Rs 18 lakh "on the entertainment of these Congress MLAs during their stay in Bangalore".

"Members of Congress party were not inclined to support him (Patel)," he said, referring to media reports.

"They (44 Congress MLAs) were also paid huge amounts by respondent no.1 (Patel) or his agent or at his direction to concerned parties as gratification for casting their first preference vote for him which they accepted," the BJP leader further alleged.

Congress MLAs in Gujarat had been flown to Bengaluru ahead of the election which had become a prestige battle for the Congress and Patel.

They were kept at Eagleton Resort from July 27 and August 6.

Rajput's affidavit claimed that the money spent on Ahmedabad-Bengaluru flight tickets of 44 MLAs had been transferred to the account of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee and from there to a branch of a private bank "at the instance and with the consent of" Patel.

The staff at the resort, the travel agencies and the concerned bank manager should be examined as witnesses in the court, Rajput demanded.

The decision of the Election Commission to reject the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs (which were supposedly in Rajput's favour) and allow the votes of two other Congress MLAs led to his defeat, he claimed.

He also sought examination of the videographer who recorded the proceedings of the August 8 election, to prove his claim that Congress MLAs Shailesh Parmar and Mitesh Garasiya showed their ballot papers to unauthorised persons and hence their votes were invalid.

The EC's decision to reject the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavji Patel was "illegal and without any jurisdiction," he said.

The high court will cross-examine Rajput on the basis of his affidavit, which he has filed in lieu of examination-in-chief (the complainant's deposition), on January 31.

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