New Delhi: In a politically significant development, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Sudheendra Kulkarni, advisor to LK Advani, and four other accused in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam that had rocked Parliament ahead of a trust vote.
The court granted bail to all accused after Delhi Police said that it will not oppose their bail applications.
In its order, the court directed the accused to surrender their passports and furnish a surety bond of Rs 2 lakhs.
The court also ordered them to be present in all the hearings and restricted them from going abroad.
As per the court order, all the accused can be summoned by the investigating agencies for questioning in connection with the case whenever required.
The court also said the tapes of the sting were genuine and
the operation established the motive.
"None of the petitioners was the beneficiary of the
amount received by the three MPs from petitioner Sanjeev
Saxena. In fact, it was the prosecution`s own case that the
MPs did this act to entrap Congress and Samajwadi Party so as
to expose them," it said.
Justice ML Mehta, in a common order, noted that Parliament,
which is supreme, did not take any action against the MPs.
"Admittedly, no action was taken by the Parliament except
that of appointing a parliamentary inquiry committee. It is
noted that some of the members of the inquiry committee have
also given dissenting views ...," the court said.
The court gave a virtual clean chit to Kulkarni saying his
role was similar to that of the news channel which has not
been made an accused.
"With regard to petitioner Sudheendra Kulkarni, it may be
noted that he was not a public servant and he was neither the
giver or the taker of money and was also not present at the
time of alleged negotiations.
The main opposition party, BJP, has welcomed the court order saying, “Justice has been delayed but finally served.”
On BJP activist Hindustani, it said his role was that of a
"whistle blower" who engineered the sting operation.
Govt notifies rules to implement N-liability law
On November 14, Justice ML Mehta had reserved till today the order on bail applications of Kulkarni, former aide of MP Amar Singh Sanjeev Saxena, political activist Suhail Hindustani and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora.
Saxena is accused of delivering Rs.1 crore to Kulaste and Bhagora, as also to Ashok Argal, who continues to be an MP, under a conspiracy to buy their votes for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in the July 2008 trust motion.
The court also reserved in connection with Argal`s anticipatory bail. The Delhi Police have received Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar`s nod to proceed against Argal.
On July 22, 2008, Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora, waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha just hours ahead of a trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.