New Delhi: Emboldened by the Election Commission’s decision to scrap the Rajya Sabha poll in Jharkhand over alleged seizure of Rs 2 crore, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha sought a probe into the matter.

The EC had cancelled the RS poll process in the state over the alleged seizure of Rs 2 crore from a car of a relative of independent candidate RK Agarwal. Earlier the BJP’s decision to support independent candidate Anshuman Mishra in the RS polls instead of renewing the term of senior leader SS Ahluwalia kept the saffron party in mess as several leaders including Sinha criticized the party move.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, Sinha noted that Jharkhand had become a "happy hunting ground for unscrupulous moneybags" and asked the poll body to investigate the role of MLAs and why they agreed to sign the nomination papers of independent candidates. He demanded that those found guilty of electoral malpractices be barred from contesting election "for the maximum permissible period".

"Those found guilty of electoral malpractices, both amongst candidates and their proposers, should be barred from contesting elections for the maximum permissible period," he wrote to Quraishi.

The BJP leader also asked the CEC to separately proceed against those legislators found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act, they being public servants.

He also demanded that the expenditure limit for RS poll be reduced drastically to a few thousand rupees, as they are indirect elections and said Quraishi should ask all candidates who filed their nominations to submit their election expenditure statements and get the same strictly scrutinized from the investigation agency with reference to the facts emerging during the investigation.

Sinha asked EC to exercise strict vigilance from the start of election process in future, as done in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and feared "what would have happened if the cash would not have been seized and the Commission not cancelled the election". Sinha said, "It is disturbing to note that the vigilance which should have been exercised from day one was missing and the money-bags were allowed to have a field day.

"Providentially, some cash was seized by the Income Tax authorities. This proved the point that money was being used freely for these elections. I shudder to think of what may have happened if this cash had not been seized and the Commission had not cancelled the election."

The BJP leader lamented that for many years now Rajya Sabha elections have become a byword for electoral malpractices and horse-trading in many states.

"Of late, however, Jharkhand has emerged as the happy hunting ground for unscrupulous money-bags who have correctly assessed the moral fiber or the lack of it amongst the political parties of Jharkhand and its legislators.

"They have come here with their money bags and bought their way to Rajya Sabha from here. They have purchased their votes both in the wholesale by striking deals with political parties as well as in retail by purchasing individual legislators. It has been happening with impunity under our very noses," Sinha said in his letter written in his "personal capacity".

The former Finance Minister lamented that the Council of States, popularly known as the House of elders has been "diluted" over the years as it has younger persons that in Lok Sabha. The amended law making a person from any state eligible to contest RS poll from any state has also aided in its dilution, he said.

"Rajya Sabha is no more the House to which long-serving, dedicated and highly meritorious workers of a political party could aspire to get elected to serve the cause of nation building. On Monday, the Upper House has largely become a favour to be dispensed with by the party bosses to their favourites," he said.