New Delhi: After its three former MPs were
granted bail in the cash-for-vote case, BJP on Thursday accused the
Congress of trying to purchase MPs ahead of the 2008 trust
vote in Parliament and asked for a deeper probe to trace the
source of money exchanged in the scam.
"The Congress-led UPA government was indeed trying to
purchase MPs and we acted as whistle-blowers", said BJP
spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, adding that the MPs carried
out the whole operation with the knowledge of a media house.
Defending its MPs of only playing the role of
whistle-blower, Sitharaman said, "No prima facie case is being
made out. There is no intention of giving or taking bribe...
It is clear that they only participated in whistle-blower
operation. There is no conspiracy."
The BJP leader also raised a number of questions on why
only the BJP MPs were targeted and sent to Tihar jail in the
cash-for-vote scam and no action was initiated against others
in the case, including the Congress-led UPA government which
was the real beneficiary of the scam.
Citing Supreme Court judgment on the JMM bribery case
during the Narasimha Rao regime, Sitharaman said the apex
court had then stated in its judgement that Parliament was
the right forum to deal with the matter and that is why the
BJP MPs preferred to take the bribe money to Parliament
instead of going to the police station.
She also asked why no action was initiated against 19 MPs
who had cross-voted during the 2008 Trust vote. "While the BJP
MPs were sent to Tihar jail, why were the 19 other MPs who
cross-voted not interrogated at all?" she asked.
Sitharaman also raised the issue of no probe being
conducted on the money trail of the money exchanged during the
cash-for-vote scam. "Why hasn`t that been established even
today," she questioned.
"When it is clearly mentioned in the charge-sheet that the
money did not belong to BJP, then why was the source of money
not established. Why is the money trail been not traced,
despite Supreme Court directions," she asked.
She reiterated that "it is important to establish who
actually gave the money. Where did they source the money
from," and said it was important as the charge-sheet filed in
this case itself says the money does not belong to BJP.
She also recalled the cash-for-question scam when the
Parliament acted in initiating action against erring MPs but
not in this case.
She also raised questions on why certain Congress leaders
named by the Parliamentary Committee were not even questioned
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s aide
Sudheendra Kulkarni, and former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste
and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh`s former
aide Sanjeev Saxena and alleged political activist Suhail
Hindustani were given bail by the Delhi High Court yesterday,
while the court also granted anticipatory bail to sitting BJP
MP Ashok Argal, also an accused in the case.
On July 22, 2008, the then three BJP MPs Argal, Kulaste
and Bhagora waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha
hours ahead of the trust vote, alleging they were given the
money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.
Sitharaman charged the Congress party with being
"frustrated" and said it was "going back to the days of
emergency as it is handling issues the way they used to deal
with public during emergency days."