In a setback to Chhattisgarh's former chief minister Ajit Jogi, a designated Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has directed further investigation into certain aspects of a 2003 horse-trading case against the Congress leader.
Special Judge Vijay Kumar Hota issued the order yesterday nearly 16 months after the CBI gave Jogi a clean chit by filing a closure report on the plea that he was a "caretaker" Chief Minister at the time of the alleged crime.
The ruling, which came during hearing of a petition by the Chhattisgarh State Finance Commission's ex-chairman Virendra Pandey, assumes significance as Jogi -- who was virtually spearheading the Congress campaign in the Assembly elections -- is the frontrunner for the post of Chief Minister.
After the Jogi-led Congress lost to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party 37-50 in the first direct elections within the state in 2003 -- Chhattisgarh was formed in 2000 -- the former was charged with horse-trading by Mr Pandey and the BJP's then Bastar Parliamentarian Baliram Kashyap who were "paid" Rs 45 lakh for horse-trading and defection in the BJP to help the Congress form a government again.
The CBI took over the investigation after Mr Pandey provided an audio tape of a "conversation" between him, the then acting Chief Minister Jogi and the BJP's Sarangarh MP PR Khunte regarding the deal.
Following the episode, Jogi was suspended from the Congress while the BJP assumed the state's reins under Dr Raman Singh's chief ministership in the first week of December, 2003.
The Court directed CBI to solicit experts' views regarding the device used by the complainant for recording the conversation and whether he was authorised to use such a device. March 19, 2014 was set as the next date for hearing. UNI SS AC RSA AS2028 NNNN
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