New Delhi: With elections approaching in Uttarakhand, the CBI has swung into action and asked Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with agency’s ongoing enquiry into the controversial sting CD in which he was purportedly seen talking to middlemen in a bid to strike a deal with dissident Congress leaders.
This is the third time Mr Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in on April 29. CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on April 29 to probe the sting operation in which Rawat was purportedly shown negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel Congress MLAs ahead of the floor test. The PE was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from the central government.
The CBI has already examined a former Congress MLA who claimed that Rawat had allegedly offered him Rs 2.5 crore for changing sides and one of his ministers later approached him with an offer of Rs 10 crore. The agency also examined private news channel chief Umesh Sharma, who did the sting. The agency had said that Mr Rawat, during his first round of questioning on May 24, did not respond to all of the queries of the probe agency. A claim refuted by Rawat. He had also denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation. He was questioned again by the CBI on June 7.
The PE is the first step during which the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. During a PE, the agency usually only “requests” a person “to join the probe” and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests. If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.
After Rawat’s victory in the floor test, the state cabinet had met on May 15 and withdrawn the notification recommending a CBI probe into the sting operation involving him. Instead, the state cabinet decided to constitute a Special Investigating Team to probe the case as it was a state subject. CBI had said the notification was rejected after taking legal opinion, which said there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was “not legally tenable”.