New Delhi: In a throwback to the days of cash-for-query scam, a news portal on Thursday claimed that 11 MPs of five parties were willing to issue letters of recommendation to promote a fictitious foreign company for a fee ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 50 lakh.
At a press conference here, Aniruddha Bahal, Editor of the portal Cobrapost, said during the sting operation conducted over a period of a year six MPs even issued letters of recommendation.
Of the MPs, two belonged to Congress, three to BJP, two to AIADMK, three to JD (U) and one to BSP, he said.
Bahal claimed that the undercover operation "exposed" the MPs of not even caring to check the antecedents of the fake foreign oil company, Mediterranean Oil Inc. Of Queensland, Australia, whom the reporter assuming fake identity approached claiming to be the consultant of the company.
The MPs named by the portal were K Sugumar and C Rajendran from AIADMK, Lalu Bhai Patel, Ravindra Kumar Pandey and Hari Manjhi from BJP; Vishwa Mohan Kumar, Maheshwar Hazari and Bhudeo Chaudhary from JD (U), Khiladi Lal Bairwa and Vikrambhai Arjanbhai from Congress and Kaiser Jahan from BSP.
Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the action of the MPs constituted serious offences under Prevention of corruption Act which need to be investigated and prosecuted.
When contacted, some of the MPs denied the charges.
Six of the MPs gave the portal letters of recommendation in favour of the fake company for a sum ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000, Bahal alleged.
"Others won`t settle for less than Rs 5 lakh for a single letter and in one case an MP quoted a ridiculously high price for a single letter at Rs 50 lakh. There was no point giving them so much money," he said.
Parliament had expelled 11 MPs after a similar undercover operation by a news portal exposed lawmakers taking money for asking questions seven years ago.