CBI summons Uttarakhand CM in sting case

Harish Rawat

New Delhi: The CBI on Friday said it has summoned Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat for further questioning over a “sting” video that purportedly shows him offering bribes for legislative support in the assembly.

In a written document, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asked Rawat to appear before it at the agency’s headquarters in Delhi on December 26.

Sources in the agency claimed that Rawat will be questioned to furnish full and complete details on many issues which he failed to submit in his questioning in June this year. The CBI had questioned the Congress Chief Minister twice in June.

Rawat has, however, maintained that he had “fully cooperated” with the CBI.

The sting video purportedly shows Rawat offering money to rebel Congress legislators to win their support ahead of a March 28 floor test in the 70-member Uttarakhand house. The floor test never happened as the state came under President’s Rule a day earlier.

The video was shot by Umesh Kumar, the editor-in-chief of Noida-based private TV channel Samachar Plus, and was released on March 26 by nine Congress legislators who had rebelled against Rawat’s government.

Rawat has denied the allegations and dismissed the video as a fake but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.

In the sting operation which was done in March, rebel Congress lawmakers voted against the state budget and thereby triggered a political crisis.

Based on a reference from the state government, then under President’s Rule, and further orders from the central government, the CBI on April 25 initiated a preliminary inquiry to determine the authenticity of the sting operation.

According to the agency, the video tapes have been proven to be authentic.