Cash-for-votes scam: Delhi Police asked to report
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Delhi Police to file a status report on their investigations into bribery charges during a trust vote in parliament in 2008.
The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice RM Lodha directed police to file the report within a week.
The alleged cash-for-votes scam rocked India when money was claimed to have been paid to certain Lok Sabha members to secure their votes on a confidence motion July 22, 2008, after the Left parties, opposing India-US civilian nuclear deal, withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance government.
The court was unmoved by Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium`s plea seeking two more months for police to finish their investigations. The court said that two months was a very long time.
The court order came during the hearing of a petition of former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh and NGO India Rejuvenation Initiative (IRI), that police have not investigated the scam though a first information report (FIR) was filed soon after the incident.
Referring to the July 22, 2008, episode when wads of currency notes were placed on the table of the Lok Sabha, the petition said that influencing parliamentarians to vote for the party in power had "shaken the roots of democratic polity" and it was "the darkest day" in the history of Parliament.
The petition said the government did nothing to unearth the truth as it knew that the "truth will come out the moment any serious and independent investigation is conducted into the matter".
"The Delhi Police are directly under the government of India, the entity whose conduct is being investigated," the petition said.
"There cannot be a more pressing issue in the realm of public life than the sale and purchase of MPs to earn majority in the house and to remain in power on the basis of corruption and bribery," it said.
The NGO sought the setting up of "a team of independent investigators to investigate all aspects surrounding the vote-for-cash scams preferably an independent SIT (special investigation team)".
The petition said that the SIT, sought by the petitioners, should complete its investigations within six months.
The case would be heard next July 15.
Senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan told the court that even though the case of `blatant bribery at the highest level has been highlighted`, Delhi Police were sitting over the investigation for almost three years.
The petition said that the incident showed the `desperate depths to which certain political functionaries and parties stooped to ensure victory on the floor of the house.`
Congress MP Kishore Chandra Deo, who headed the parliamentary probe committee, had said that the Enforcement Directorate and the Income-Tax Department could be asked to probe the money trail. The committee had said that the money displayed in the Lok Sabha could be traced to banks in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
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