Minister deposes before police on horse-trading case

Bhubaneswar: Former union minister Braja Kishore Tripathy and engineer Lalit Mohan Patnaik today recorded their statements in the case relating to alleged "horse-trading" during last year`s Rajya Sabha polls in Orissa.

The police recorded the statements of Tripathy and Patnaik under section 161 of the CrPC, said a senior police officer engaged in the investigation into the matter.

The police had recently registered a case against "some ministers and MLAs" for their alleged involvement in the alleged horse-trading incident.

The state government had lodged the FIR at the Capital Police Station here following a direction from the Election Commission. The EC had gave this direction to the state government following a complaint filed by Tripathy.

"I have told the police how BJD`s third candidate won the RS poll despite not having adequate numbers with the ruling party. While they (BJD) required 111 votes, it had support of only 108 votes in the assembly," Tripathy said.

Therefore, Tripathy said, he along with many in the state suspected that the election was manipulated by the ruling party.

Stating that his suspicion was strengthened when three MLAs (two from the Congress and one from BJP) abstained from voting paving way for the victory of BJD`s third candidate.

This apart, rejection of one vote by a Congress MLA also helped the ruling party.

Tripathy in his complaint with the EC had said an audio-tape telecast by a local television channel also exposed the ruling party. "The name of two ministers were there in the audio-tape," he said.