Jharkhand Congress MLA Naman Bixal Kongari on Sunday claimed that he was offered money and a minister’s post to topple the coalition government led by Hemant Soren in the state, reported The Indian Express. The Congress is part of the ruling alliance in the state.
“Three people had approached me through my party workers stating that they worked for some companies,” Kongari told The Indian Express. “Despite me asking them to go away, they used to find a way to come back... Once, they offered me more than Rs 1 crore in cash.”
The MLA said he has informed Congress Legislature Party leader Alamgir Alam, and party’s Jharkhand in charge RPN Singha and Chief Minister Hemant Soren about it. He said that three people had approached him around a half-a-dozen times.
“They had approached me stating that apart from the money, I will get a ministerial post and support for all our agendas related to minority and tribal affairs,” Kongari claimed. “They also told me they were doing this for the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party].”
The MLA, however, added that none of the Bharatiya Janata Party workers approached him.
Kongari made the claims a day after three residents – Abhishek Dubey, Amit Singh and Niwaran Prasad Mahato – were arrested for an allegedly conspiring to topple the state government. All three were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 419 (party to criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 124A (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and the Prevention of Corruption Act on a complaint filed by Congress MLA Kumar Jaimangal.
The complaint and press release issued by police, however, does not specify how the accused planned to bring down the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal government.
It could not be confirmed if the three arrested men were the same who approached Kongari as the MLA said that he does not remember their faces.
Accused say plan to target 11 Congress MLAs
Dubey, one of the accused in the case, reportedly told the police that they were trying to deal with 11 Congress MLAs, according to India Today, which had access to the police statement of the arrested. He said that they were supposed to disburse money to the MLAs as an advance payment.
Dubey also said that they had gone to Delhi on July 15 with two Congress MLAs, Irfan Ansari and Umashankar Akela, and an independent MLA Amit Yadav, who were all on board with the alleged conspiracy.
Their travel ticket for Delhi was arranged by Jay Kumar, the nephew of Maharashtra Congress leader Chandrashekhar Rao, Dubey said, adding that that the deal could not happen as the MLAs were angry when they were not paid the advance amount.
Further, photos on Mahato’s Facebook page showed him with BJP’s Dhanbad MP Pashupati Nath and some other party local leaders, according to The Indian Express. However, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said that Mahato was not a member of the saffron party.
‘No conspiracy’: Opposition
Leader of Opposition Babulal Marandi claimed that there was no conspiracy and that the accused were innocent. He demanded that they be released immediately.
“The police should not become a party’s tool,” Marandi said. He demanded the police to hold a press conference and make public all aspects related to the case. Shahdeo demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry.
On Saturday, the family members of Mahato and Dubey also claimed that the duo was innocent. Mahato is a vegetable vendor and Dubey a daily wage labourer, according to their families.
They also claimed that the police had said Dubey and Mahato would be released in an hour.