Ranchi, June 13: In the third round of raids since investigations began into alleged horse-trading during the countermanded March 30 Rajya Sabha elections, the CBI today turned the scanner on relatives and associates of various MLAs and Independent candidates Pawan Dhoot and R.K. Agrawal.
Among the premises raided were those belonging to legislators Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda. Also on the raid list was Pawan Kumar Shah, a relative of Agrawal's son-in-law Saumitra Shah, at Jharsuguda in Odisha.
Agrawal had claimed that Rs 2.15 crore seized from a vehicle on the outskirts of the state capital on voting day belonged to Saumitra's father R. K. Shah and was being sent to Ranchi as part payment for a land deal.
Saumitra, during interrogation, said the cash was being brought from the premises of M/S Jai Hanuman Udyog Ltd in Jharsuguda, where it had been lying for the a year and was transported by road to Jamshedpur on March 29.
CBI sources, however, said papers seized today proved that no money had been lying at Jharsuguda during the said period.
Sleuths also swooped down on the Gurgaon office premises of M/S Dhoot Infrastructure and Dhoot's associates Ram Bangar in Ranchi and Sunil Kumar Maheshwari in Calcutta. The latter two were the alleged conduits in striking deals with the MLAs, sources said.
Bangar apparently acquired 10 SIM cards, in the name of Mandar resident Yaqub Ali, to strike deals that would further Dhoot's Rajya Sabha ambitions. All the SIMs were allegedly destroyed on March 30.
"The book of accounts seized at Dhoot's Gurgaon office reveals unusually heavy transactions in March," confided a CBI official, adding that the deals were being analysed to find out where the money finally landed up.
"We will interrogate Dhoot about the transactions," said a senior CBI official.
The agency also raided the Calcutta premises of Saurav Tapadiya, a chartered accountant and a director in the Dhoot group, and company official Vaibhav Tapadiya in Delhi.
The CBI also knocked on the doors of JMM MLA Sita Soren's Bhubaneswar-based father Bodh Narayan Manhji and recovered a bank draft of Rs 40 lakh and some documents. Manjhi, who worked for Indian Oil Corporation and is on holiday in Gangtok, claimed that the money was part of his post-retirement benefits. The draft has been seized for scrutiny.
Bipin Mandal, relative of BJP MLA Arun Mandal in Sahebganj, Vakil Yadav, brother of RJD MLA Sanjay Yadav in Dumka and his brother in law Joginder Yadav in Godda also faced searches.
The CBI seized a diary containing details of construction of a large house by Bandhu Tirkey at Banhora, a village near Pandra. Tirkey was away in Bangalore today on a personal visit. Linda's Hawai Nagar home in Ranchi was raided.
During raids on May 18, the CBI had seized Rs 14 lakh in cash from the residence of Arun Mandal in Sahebganj besides incriminating papers relating to investments during the Rajya Sabha elections.
CBI sources said today's raids were based on evidence collected on the basis of mobile call details and materials seized during the May 18 raids.
A CBI official, however, expressed reservations about the actual culprits being nailed finally.