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Cash-For-Vote: Cong Leaders Absolved, Amar, Advani Aide Charged

PTI 24 Aug 2011, 21:25:29 IST

New Delhi, Aug 24: Congress leaders were virtually absolved of their role in the cash-for-vote scam when a charge sheet filed in a Delhi court today accused former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni of “conspiring” and “masterminding” in bribing MPs ahead of a confidence vote in Lok Sabha in 2008. 

Delhi Police in its charge sheet also named two former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora along with Sanjeev Saxena, former aide of Amar Singh and Suhail Hindustani, alleged BJP activist, who are in judicial custody. 

However, the name of sitting BJP MP Ashok Argal, who was sought to be bribed to defy the party line, was not mentioned in the charge sheet and Delhi Police said it would file a supplementary charge sheet after taking the requisite sanction to prosecute him.

Interestingly, in the 80-page charge sheet, Delhi Police said the probe in the case did not lead towards the role of any Congress leader in the incident. Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh has also been given a clean chit in the charge sheet.

Hindustani, in his bail plea, had named some Congress and SP leaders of being allegedly involved in the scam.  “During investigation and detailed interrogation of the three BJP MPs (Kulaste, Bhagora and Argal), it is revealed that the three MPs were trying to contact Congress leaders initially.

“And later shifting their efforts towards Samajwadi Party leaders and no where it is seen or claimed by any BJP MP that they were contacted by any Congress or Samajwadi Party leader to influence their vote on the motion of confidence,” the charge sheet said.

The charge sheet described Kulkarni as the “mastermind” of the scam and said he had remained in touch with all conspirators and was present when the “illegal gratification” was paid to the MPs.

The charge sheet was filed before Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal. It will come up for cognisance before her tomorrow.

It alleged that Amar Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, “conspired” with Saxena and others to bribe the then MPs and Kulkarni had played an “active role” during the confidence motion. 

The charge sheet alleged that during investigation “sufficient evidence” has come on record that on the morning of July 22, 2008, Amar Singh, MP “hatched a criminal conspiracy with his secretary Sanjeev Saxena to deliver cash of Rs one crore as illegal gratification.”

“And in furtherance of this criminal conspiracy, Saxena, along with another person in a yellow shirt delivered Rs one crore cash at 4, Ferozeshah Road at about 11 AM to the three BJP MPs—Argal, Kuleste and Bhagoda as advance out of a total deal of Rs nine crore as Rs three crore (were to be paid) to each MP to abstain from voting during the motion of confidence,” it claimed.

“And thus, Amar Singh has committed the offence under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption  Act read with section 120 B (conspiracy) of IPC for which the charge sheet is being submitted against him,” the police alleged.

The charge sheet referred to the alleged role of Kulkarni accusing him of keeping the probe agency in the dark about the whole episode of which he had “full knowledge.” PTI