Virtual clean chit to Cong, SP in `cash-for-vote`

Last Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 19:45

New Delhi: Congress and Samajwadi Party
on Thursday virtually got a clean chit in cash-for-vote scam in a
local court which was told by Delhi Police that none from the
two parties had contacted Sohail Hindustani, the alleged
"master orchestra" of conspiracy to bribe BJP MPs to vote in
favour of Manmohan Singh government in a trust vote in 2008.

"During investigation, it has come on record that
neither any leader of Congress Party has made any effort to
contact Hindustani nor any SP leader contacted him to strike a
deal with MPs," the crime branch of Delhi police told Special
Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal who remanded Hindustani to police
custody till tommorow.

The police said "rather it is clear that it was only
Hindustani who was making repeated attempts to contact
various persons to strike a deal for monetary considerations
in the name of three BJP MPs".

The judge also extended the police custody of another
accused Sanjeev Saxena, alleged to be a close aide of Rajya
Sabha MP Amar Singh, till tomorrow after the prosecution
submitted they both need to be confronted to complete the
chain of events.

During the arguments, advocate Anand, appearing for
Hindustani, accused the Delhi police of giving a clean chit to
Congress party despite the fact that the probe in the case is
still on.

"How can you (police) give a clean chit to Congress
party at this stage of the probe? They are catching the
whistle blower (Hindustani) and saving the government," Anand
said refuting the charge of the probe agency that Hindustani
is the main conspirator in the whole issue.

While seeking two-days police custody of both
Hindustani and Saxena, public prosecutor Rajeev Mohan said
July 22, 2008, was the "most unfortunate day for a democratic
set up" as money was waved in Parliament during the debate on
the confidence motion.

He said the seven-member parliamentary committee,
constituted by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to probe the
matter, had also submitted its report running into 700 pages
in which they had indicted three persons for the scam--Sanjeev
Saxena, Sohail Hindustani and Sudheendra Kulkarni.

The prosecutor submitted they have examined various
persons in their probe into the scam saying as per the
evidence and documents, Hindustani was the "master orchestra
of the well-hatched conspiracy."

"Hindustani arrived in Delhi on July 20, 2008, and he
was having a list of MPs whom he intended to contact to strike
the deal. He was the person who came in front to encash the
situation as the confidence motion was scheduled on July 22.

He contacted different persons (including one S P Gupta and a
SP leader whom he called Guruji) to encash the situation," he
said.

The prosecution submitted they have recorded the
statement of S P Gupta who said Hindustani offered him the
support of three BJP MPs on the motion of confidence to suit
the interests of Congress party.

The police also referred to Hindustani`s statement given
before the parliamentary committee on August 12, 2008, and the
statements of other witnesses, including Kulkarni and BJP MPs
Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora.

"As per his (Hindustani`s) statement before the
parliamentary committee and the statemens of other witnesses,
including Kulkarni, Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, it is
clear that after failing to get any success to strike a deal
with Congress Party, it was Hindustani only who diverted his
efforts to entrap leaders of Samajwadi Party and with this
purpose, in the midnight of July 21-22, 2008, he contacted
Rewati Raman Singh," the prosecution said.

Regarding Saxena, the prosecution said they have evidence
in the form of video tapes in which he came to the residence
of a BJP MP and had placed the bag containing currency notes
on the table.

They said the same currency notes were waved in
Parliament on the same day.

"We need to confront both the accused. We have two ends
of a chain and to complete it, we need to interrogate them
jointly.

"It is virtually impossible to complete the chain of
events without joint interrogation as it is required to
unearth the conspiracy ," the prosecution said while seeking
remand of both the accused.

Saxena`s lawyer, however, opposed the extension of remand
saying the police has been probing the case for last two and
half year and his client has co-operated with them.

Similarly, Hindustani`s lawyer claimed the probe
agency was sleeping for the last two and half years and the
ground on which they are seeking the remand was vague. He
added the police started working on the case only after the
Supreme Court recently intervened in it.

The court, meanwhile, intervened during the arguments
and pulled up the police saying "are you not supposed to do a
fair investigation without orders from the Supreme Court?"

The prosecution countered these allegations saying
they have interrogated some more persons in connection with
the case and Hindustani has disclosed some new names to them.

Slammed by the Supreme Court for a shoddy probe into
the cash-for-vote scam, Delhi Police had first arrested Saxena
on July 17. It arrested Hindustani yesterday.

Saxena was then remanded in police custody for three
days. He and Hindustani have been booked for various offences
under the Prevention of Corruption Act, police said.

The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation
by a parliamentary committee which was constituted to probe
the vote-for-cash scam dating back to July 22, 2008 when some
BJP MPs had waved wads of currency notes on the floor of Lok
Sabha claiming they were given the money to vote in favour of
the Manmohan Singh government.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 19:34

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