Cash-for-votes scam: Amar Singh sent to Tihar

Former SP leader Amar Singh was arrested and sent to judicial custody till September 19 for his alleged involvement in cash-for-votes scam.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was on Tuesday arrested and sent to judicial custody till September 19 for his alleged involvement in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam.

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal rejected bail plea of an “ill” Amar Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, and remanded him to judicial custody in the case in which he has been chargesheeted by Delhi Police following Supreme Court`s displeasure over the "shoddy" probe.

The bail pleas of former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora were also rejected, who too appeared before the court responding to its summons for their alleged role in the scam. They have also been remanded to judicial custody till September 19.

BJP leader LK Advani`s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who has also been chargesheeted in the case, failed to appear before the court personally as he is stated to be abroad. The counsel for Kulkarni meanwhile said, "Kulkarni is in the USA and he will appear in court within two weeks."

The judge ordered that the three be brought in court on September 19 for the next hearing, during which the three accused can apply for regular bail.

The former Samajawadi Party general secretary, who had earlier through his counsel sought exemption from attending the court on medical grounds, appeared before the Special Judge armed with all his medical reports.

Making a fervent plea to the court to grant him bail on medical grounds, 55-year-old Singh said that he has only recently undergone kidney transplant at Singapore and requires intensive round the clock medicare.

Personally arguing his case for over five minutes, he said he has also developed infection in his urinary tract for which he has to visit Singapore for tests every three months, besides being in constant touch with doctors.
"I lost my kidneys and I am now living on borrowed kidneys. There are hazards of being in public life and there is infection in my urinary track which is dangerous for my borrowed kidney," said Singh.

"I was having (health) problems since yesterday. I have faith in judiciary and in the Constitution. I was treated in Mt Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore and have to travel every three months (for medical check-ups)," said Singh, pleading to the court to take note of his health condition.

The judge, however, after going through medical reports submitted by Singh to her, said the documents do not show his medical history after September 2010.

"What has been your (Amar Singh`s) medical history since September, October 2010. Whatever you have given to me is prior to September 2010," the judge told Singh. Responding to the judge`s query, Singh said, "There was little time today so I could not get all the reports."
Seeking interim bail for Singh, senior advocate Amrendra Sharan and advocate Hariharan said there is nothing in this case and there is high probability that ultimately the accused will not be convicted and they may even be discharged.

"There is no apprehension that Singh will tamper with evidence or abscond," said former Additional Solicitor General Sharan, adding that Singh has also been cooperating with the Delhi Police during investigations.

The defence counsel pointed out that Singh has decided to appear before the court despite his ill health and this "good conduct also calls for grant of bail."

The prosecution, however, told that court that the bail application should be decided on merit only and said if the plea is considered, factors like the standing of the accused in society, gravity of offence and ability to influence witnesses must be considered.

Meanwhile, Singh moved a fresh plea for interim bail on health grounds in a city court which asked the Delhi Police to respond on September 8.

Opposition parties including BJP and Left targeted the UPA government in the wake of arrest of Amar Singh and demanded a deeper probe into its role in the scam, alleging it was the "real beneficiary".

The Congress rejected the allegation that the UPA government was the beneficiary and said that anyone saying that the investigation was motivated was by implication questioning the Supreme Court which was monitoring the investigation.

The SP, which expelled Singh last year, interestingly maintained that he has been made a scapegoat and his arrest was a "whitewash" by Delhi Police.

Taking cognisance of a Delhi Police chargesheet, the court had issued summons to Singh, Kulkarni, Kulaste and Bhagora on August 25, asking them to appear before it.

Two other arrested accused, Sohail Hindustani and Amar Singh`s aide Sanjeev Saxena are already in custody.

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police, in its chargesheet, had indicted all the six accused for their roles in the scam, involving payment of bribes to some MPs to win their votes in a trust motion for the Congress-led UPA government.

Regarding the role of Amar Singh, the police has alleged he had "conspired" with Saxena and others to bribe the then MPs, while Kulkarni played an "active role" during the trust motion.

However, the name of sitting BJP MP Ashok Argal, who was sought to be bribed to disobey the party line, was not mentioned in the chargesheet, and the Delhi Police said it would file a supplementary chargesheet after taking the requisite sanction to prosecute him.