Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat appeared before the CBI Tuesday morning in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation. The much talked-about sting operation was released by the Congress rebels alleging attempted horse trading by Rawat in the midst of political crisis in the state.
“I will fully cooperate with the agency (CBI),” Rawat had told the press when sought reaction on the CBI summons.
Denouncing the allegations and terming the sting operation as fake, Harish Rawat had requested the CBI to come to Dehradun to question him as it would be difficult for him to go to Delhi to appear before them but they rejected his request.
The central probe agency had also rejected the Uttarakhand government’s notification withdrawing the case related to the sting operation. The agency 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”.
The purported sting operation was released by Congress rebels and aired on a private news channel in March, two days before Harish Rawat was to prove his numbers in the house. The March 28 floor test, however, couldn’t take place as the state was placed under the President’s rule.
Centre had cited the constitutional break-down in the state as the reason for imposing President’s Rule.
But Rawat was back as Chief Minister after Nainital High Court quashed the proclamation imposing President’s Rule. The Centre also suffered set-back in the Supreme Court after it ordered a floor test, where Rawat was able to prove his majority.
Meanwhile, the probe over purported sting operation continued with CBI filing a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on April 29. According to the claims made by Congress rebels, the sting operation is purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.
Post his return as CM, the Uttarakhand cabinet had on May 15 made a recommendation for forming a judicial panel headed by retired High Court judge to probe into a string of significant issues during the President’s rule in the state.
The state cabinet also had decided to constitute a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the case as it was a state subject. But the CBI last week rejected the state government’s notification.
In a related development, the Chief Minister had failed to get a reprieve from Uttarakhand High Court also which had refused to quash the ongoing CBI probe into the sting operation.
(With inputs from the PTI)