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Manturam Claims Antagarh Bypoll Deal Was Stuck at Rs 7.5 Cr, Names Ajit Jogi, Raman Singh as Conspirators

Manturam Pawar, the Congress candidate in the Antagarh assembly bypoll in 2014 in Chhattisgarh who abruptly withdrew from the fray, on Saturday alleged that the deal for rigging the Antagarh assembly by-poll was struck at Rs 7.5 crore

News18

Updated:September 8, 2019, 11:45 AM IST
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Manturam Claims Antagarh Bypoll Deal Was Stuck at Rs 7.5 Cr, Names Ajit Jogi, Raman Singh as Conspirators
File photo of Manturam Pawar.
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Raipur: In a major revelation in the Antagarh tape controversy in Chhattisgarh, BJP leader Manturam Pawar, the prime accused in the case, appeared before a court on Saturday and claimed that the deal for rigging the Antagarh assembly by-poll was struck at Rs 7.5 crore but he had nothing to do with the money transactions.

Pawar, who was the Congress candidate in the Antagarh assembly bypoll in 2014 but abruptly withdrew from the fray, told court that he later learnt that others received the amount on his behalf without his knowledge.

As per Pawar's affidavit before the court, he had withdrawn from the said by-poll under pressure.

Later, he wrote a letter to Chhattisgarh police and sought protection claiming threat to his life.

His affidavit also mentions that the deal was struck at the bungalow of then PWD minister Rajesh Munat but he was not aware of it.

Pawar was associated with the Congress for 22 years before joining the BJP. “If I had prior knowledge of these deals, I would have gone public with the revelation earlier,” he claimed. With the money trail surfacing in the case, I am feeling guilty,” he told News18.

“If I was wrong and was involved in money deals, why would I go to the court and record my statement under section 164 of the CrPC? I also want to know the truth,” claimed Pawar.

The controversial politician also pointed fingers at former chief ministers Raman Singh and Ajit Jogi. Later, speaking to the media, he claimed that he did not have any direct communication with Jogi, his son Amit and Raman Singh but has expressed what he has heard and read in the media.

Asked if he would join back Congress, Pawar said he was still with BJP and will take a decision based on the kind of action party takes against him.

Meanwhile, Raman Singh called it a political vendetta by the ruling Congress ahead of Dantewada by-polls. He claimed that Pawar gave the statement in court under pressure. Distancing himself from the Antagarh case, Singh said he would keep his version before the court.

Congress had fielded Manturam Pawar against BJP’s Bhojraj Nag in the 2014 by-poll but Pawar had surprised everyone by withdrawing his candidature, leaving Nag as the clear winner.

Later, an audio call of one Firoz Siddiqui had gone viral and it was alleged that Amit, son of former chief minister Ajit Jogi, had made Pawar withdraw his nomination with the help of Punit Gupta, Raman Singh’s son-in-law.

Besides Pawar, Amit Jogi, former minister Rajesh Munat, Punit Gupta and others are also accused in the case.

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