RK Nagar by-poll: Madras HC allows DMK candidate's plea to amend prayer and seek CBI probe

The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed a petition filed by DMK candidate N Marudu Ganesh to amend his earlier prayer and seek a CBI probe into the alleged bribery of voters leading to cancellation of the R K Nagar by-election in April, 2017.
RK Nagar by-poll: Madras HC allows DMK candidate's plea to amend prayer and seek CBI probe

Chennai

Impleading the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalatha issued notice to the agency returnable by February 11.
The court was allowing a miscellaneous petition by Ganesh seeking to amend his prayer in the main petition related to the byelection and seek CBI probe by registering the April 21, 2017 complaint of the Returning Officer of the constituency on the alleged use of money to bribe voters.
Ganesh and others had originally moved the court seeking registration of FIR against those accused of bribery in the bypoll to the assembly segment, which was cancelled a week before it was to be held on April 12, citing a report from the Income Tax department on searches conducted by it.
Searches were carried out at several places including at those related to Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, on April 7, 2017, and various documents were seized in different places allegedly containing information on distribution of money to voters in the constituency.
Based on a complaint by the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), an FIR was registered. However, it was quashed by a single judge bench of the high court later.
After that Marudu Ganesh (who lost the poll), moved the miscellaneous petition seeking to amend his prayer for a CBI probe and seeking action against the people whose names were mentioned in a report based on which the CEO lodged the police complaint.
In its order, the court said the materials placed before it would prima facie indicate that the Inspector of police to whom the complaint was sent did not cite anybody as accused till the FIR was quashed by the court.
This was despite the availability of some names given in the form of annexures in the April 21 complaint and the police examining a total of 882 witnesses, the bench said.
Referring to documents which showed a total figure of Rs.
89.65 crore and a break-up distribution of cash among voters, the bench said the details of the distribution have also been given, which include the "names of the Hon'ble Chief Minister, other Hon'ble Ministers, Party Members/Functionaries of the said party".
It was pertinent to point out at this juncture that though the names of at least three persons were mentioned in the search and seizure operations by the I-T Department, still the relevant column in the FIR remained blank, the court said.
On quashing of the FIR, it said the petitioner had not impleaded the defacto complainant (the returning officer). He had made an omnibus prayer to quash the entire FIR without restricting it to himself.
"Therefore, the amendment of the prayer sought for by the petitioner, is to be allowed,  the court said in its order.
It, however, disallowed another plea in the amended prayer for holding the Election Commission accountable for the damages suffered by the petitioner due to rescinding of bypoll and consequently direct the poll body to reimburse the election expenses incurred by him.

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