Security push for 'kidnap' victim

Ranchi, Dec. 26: The CBI today forwarded an application to the district administration requesting protection for Vikas Pandey, who had allegedly been kidnapped by Jama MLA Sita Soren on Friday.

Sita is one of several politicians being probed by the agency over allegations of exchange of cash in the countermanded Rajya Sabha polls on March 30.

The application, drafted by Pandey, who was the personal assistant of the MLA at the time of the polls, requested the district officials to take appropriate action in the case immediately and provide him security. Pandey had been brought by Argora police from Sita's residence on Monday night.

Sources said the CBI had taken serious note of the incident and initiated a probe. It was also worried about the security of Pandey ' who had deposed before a court ' and hence had sought protection.

Deputy inspector-general of CBI (animal husbandry) S.K. Bhagat told The Telegraph that Pandey had got in touch with them but refused to disclose any detail.

"Vikas Pandey had approached us yesterday with an application. It has been forwarded to the appropriate authorities for action," he said.

Prodded about the importance of the application ' in which Pandey has allegedly narrated the sequence of events ' Bhagat said every witness was important for them.

"Every witness is important for us and hence we are cautious here," he said.

He added they were investigating the Rajya Sabha cash-for-vote case and it was too early to say anything. "A probe is on. There may be a number of people involved in the case. We will try and give this case priority," he said.

The case came to the fore after Namkum police recovered Rs 2.15 crore in cash from a car that belonged to a relative of R. K. Agrawal, an Independent candidate, right before the March 30 election Rajya Sabha election, which were later postponed.

The CBI had later, after a prod from the Election Commission of India and on directions of Jharkhand High Court, registered a case and taken up investigations.

The CBI sleuths raided 18 places in Ranchi, Dumka, Godda in the state, besides Calcutta, Odisha and Delhi. Among several names under the scanner where those of Pawan Kumar Dhoot, an Independent candidate for the polls, Bandhu Tirkey, Chamra Linda and Sita Soren.

The investigating agency, during its raids, stumbled upon documents pertaining to a fixed deposit of Rs 40 lakh from the Jhadsugda (Odisha) residence of Budh Narain Manjhi, Sita's father.

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