New Delhi: Amid parliamentary debate over the cash-for-vote scam, a news magazine claimed, Wednesday, that the BJP itself had orchestrated the TV sting operation in 2008 to discredit the government and big names like Advani were in the know.
As per a report published in Tehelka, it was not the Congress or the Samajwadi Party that was looking for MPs to buy, instead it was the BJP that had wilfully went out to entrap either the Congress or the SP into buying three BJP MPs so that it could pull off a successful sting operation and discredit the government.
Moreover, the sting operation is said to have had the sanction and collusion of senior BJP leaders like LK Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni and Arun Jaitley.
Tehelka has based its story on the first hand-account of the TV reporter who carried out the sting operation and some phone recordings containing details of “BJP MP Argal calling people and shopping for someone to buy him and the other two BJP MPs on the night of 21 July 2008, the eve of the nuclear vote”.
The report is also based on the parliamentary panel report which the magazine claims as full of contradictory accounts.
Interestingly, the report does not exonerate the Samajwadi Party as it did fall for the BJP’s entrapment and agreed to buy its three BJP MPs.
However, powerful Congress leader Ahmad Patel named as being involved in horse trading has been exonerated of any involvement. The Congress as a party is also supposed to be above board, as per the report; but its failure to collate evidence and nail the actual accused has been pointed as a black spot, in its otherwise clean slate.
The report’s findings were raised in the Rajya Sabha by Congress MP Jayanthi Natarajan when she demanded explanation from Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.
Jaitley responded by saying: “The government is in a serious difficulty over the fact of the manner in which it procured its majority. I am quite conscious that investigators friendly to the Congress are trying to save you.”
“You don’t look at the video recordings, the couriers, don’t look at the members who cross voted but only are concerned about the three BJP MPs who contacted a media organisation for a sting operation,” he added.
Jaitley also said that the organisation which has brought out this story has no locus standi to question a sting operation as they themselves have carried out such investigations.
In response to Jaitley, Chidambaram told the Upper House that the government is committed to taking cash for vote investigation to its logical conclusion, as recommended by the K C Deo committee, and that all aspects would be looked into including the latest revelations on the sting operations.