DEHRADUN: Accusing CBI of leaving BJP out of the ambit of its probe in the sting CD case, Chief Minister Harish Rawat today asked the agency to interrogate the "main players" of the "horsetrading drama" that unfolded during the recent political crisis in Uttarakhand.
"On the basis of my conversation with a third man who was not a player in the episode, CBI summoned me for interrogation. "I ask the investigating agency why it does not question the main players and beneficiaries of the horsetrading drama," he said.
Several of them have also been named in the sting CD, he said. "Why aren't they summoned by the CBI," Rawat told reporters here on his return from New Delhi after making his second appearance before the CBI in connection with the case.
"After all who was the end beneficiary of the horsetrading exercise? I lost 10 MLAs while BJP gained as many," he said, adding, "someone who lost 10 MLAs due to horsetrading is being interrogated whereas those who earned as many are being left out." Rawat said he has told CBI his side of the story and submitted to it documents which can serve as evidence of BJP's "active" role in the horsetrading that took place in the state during the peak of the crisis in March.
"There were allegations made by Congress MLAs even on March 18 (the day crisis broke out in the state assembly) that they were offered money to break ranks with us. "The whole world saw BJP leaders taking Congress defectors to Raj Bhawan in a chartered bus and then in a chartered aircraft to a Gurgaon hotel," he said.
Numerous visits were made by BJP central leaders to Dehardun during the one-and-a-half month long crisis, he said. After all what were they up to?. Isn't it enough reason for CBI to bring the BJP under the ambit of its probe?' he asked.
Rejecting charges that he had tried to lure the rebel MLAs, he shot back, "Wouldn't it have been a self-defeating exercise? Why would I try to bring back MLAs against whom I had demanded action from the Speaker," he said. The Chief MInister said he has been saying all along that he will cooperate with the CBI in its ongoing investigations in the sting CD case. "I am doing exactly that," he said.
In the CD, Rawat was purportedly seen talking to middlemen in a bid to strike a deal with dissident Congress MLAs. Rawat has denied any wrongdoing. Two days before Rawat was to face vote of confidence on March 28, nine rebel Congress MLAs, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, had alleged that they were offered bribe by Rawat for support during the floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly and released a video of the "sting" operation.
An inquiry was initiated on the recommendation of the state government, then under President's Rule, and a notification on it was issued by the Centre. Rawat went on to win the floor test in the Assembly and return as CM.