Dehradun | In a siginificant move, the Uttarakhand Cabinet withdrew the notification recommending a CBI probe into a sting operation involving Chief Minister Harish Rawat, prompting opposition BJP to allege he was shying away from investigation as he was afraid of being caught.
The state Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by its seniormost member Indira Hridayesh, decided to withdraw thenotification issued on April 2 during presidents rule recommending a CBI probe into the sting CD, Chief Secretary Shatrughna Singh told reporters here. The CD purportedly showed Rawat negotiating a deal to buy support of disgruntled Congress MLAs.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to constitute an SIT to probe the case, he said. The Cabinet meeting is said to have been chaired by Hridayesh as withdrawal of the notification for the ongoing probe was on top of its agenda and the Chief Minister himself presiding over it would have put a question mark on the objectivity of the move.
Reacting sharply to the decision, state BJP president Ajay Bhatt said it was yet another testimony to Rawats guilt. It shows he is shying away from a CBI probe as he is afraid of being caught. The CD contains enough evidence of his involvement, Bhatt said.
As the Cabinet met to take the decision, Rawat visited Chardham in the Himalayas to pay obeisance to the deities, days after he won a floor test in the state assembly that paved the way for the reinstatatement of his government. As investigation of criminal cases isa state subject it has been decided to hand over the probe into the sting CDto an SIT, the Chief Secretary said.
Since law and order is a state subject, CBI can probe cases of crime in a state only on the recommendation of the government concerned or under instructions from court. In an effort to justify the state governments move he cited a similar decision taken by the government in Sikkim where notification for a preliminary enquiry underway by the CBI had been withdrawn.
Though summoned by the CBI for questioning in connection with the sting CDon May 9, Rawat has so far evaded it on health grounds.