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Jaitely takes dig at AAP for appeal against 2008 cash-for-vote scam acquittals

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 21:15

New Delhi: Expressing surprise at the AAP government`s decision to challenge discharge of accused in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday took a dig at the new outfit saying if its standards are applied, everyone would be guilty of criminal conspiracy.

"AAP ostensibly claims to be a product of a movement which campaigned for Lokpal and Whistleblowers legislation. It, therefore, surprises me that one of the earliest decisions of the AAP government would be to challenge the discharge of whistleblowers by a competent court.

"...Political consistency is becoming unknown for some. Interestingly, Mr Kejriwal is exhorting everybody to do sting operation on corrupt officials. But were AAP`s standards be applied to such cases, everybody would be guilty under 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy)," the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said.
Defending the discharged persons, he said they were "whisteblowers" who had exposed one of the greatest scandals in independent India`s history and "They were wrongly charged, and rightly discharged."

He said people had cross-voted in the vote of confidence in July, 2008 after the Indo-US civil nuclear deal was signed and money had been offered to MPs.

Hailing the judgement discharging the accused in the case, he said it is a "significant victory" for those who were campaigning for the rights of whistleblowers and grant of protection to them and expressed hope that the Bill pending in Rajya Sabha would be passed at the earliest.

"India needs more whistleblowers so that acts of corruption can be exposed. Lok Sabha has already passed the Whistleblowers Bill and it is pending before Rajya Sabha. If there is any window of opportunity for legislation, which is available in this session, I do hope that this Bill can be passed at the earliest," he said.

The Delhi Government yesterday decided to file an appeal against the acquittal of seven persons, including former SP leader Amar Singh, Sudheendra Kulkarni, former aide of L K Advani, and three BJP leaders by a trial court in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam.
A trial court in November last year had given a clean chit to Singh, Kulkarni and BJP leaders Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahabir Singh Bhagora and party activist Sohail Hindustani, saying facts on record do not create sufficient grounds for proceeding against them.

Of the seven accused, only one, Amar Singh`s former aide Sanjeev Saxena was ordered to be proceeded against under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (abetment of offence relating to illegal gratification to a public servant). He was discharged of criminal conspiracy.

The cash-for-vote scam pertains to BJP MPs displaying wads of currency notes during the July 22, 2008 trust vote in Lok Sabha after the Left Front withdrew its support to the UPA-I government on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal.

While Singh and Kulkarni spent 49 and 52 days respectively in jail before they were granted bail, Kulaste, Bhagora and Hindustani spent two-three months in jail. Argal was granted anticipatory bail.

First Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 21:15

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