New twist in cash-for-vote scam: Chidambaram



New Delhi: Seeking to corner BJP following an "an unexpected turn of events" in cash-for-vote row, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the investigations into the controversy will be widened to find if a political party had "engineered" the sting operation ahead of 2008 trust vote.

Chidambaram referred to the "unexpected turn of events" in the Rajya Sabha after his party colleague Jayanthi Natrajan intervened to charge that the television sting operation was "mounted" by BJP.

"This is exposed by Tehelka," she said attacking Leader of the Oppostion Arun Jaitley.

Participating in the short duration discussion on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the WikiLeaks expose of cash-for-vote controversy, Chidambaram said "today, there has been a completely unexpected turn of events".

He said that with the fresh revealations, the investigations being done by the Delhi Police would also examine whether a particular party had "engineered" and "manufactured" the sting operation to de-stablise a sitting government in 2008.

He said journalists of the news channel, which carried out the sting operation have been examined.

Siddhartha Gautam, one of these journalists, who had left the country, has now made the statement.

"CNN-IBN has also been requested to facilitate recording of the statement of Gautam," he said.

Further investigations, which will include sitting Lok Sabha members, would be done, he said.

"...as far as sitting MPs are concerned, we will take steps to request the Speaker, Lok Sabha, to concur on examination of MPs," he said.

Asserting that it was wrong to say that the matter was not being investigated, the Home Minister said the forensic report would also be taken into account.

"I am told that the investigation will be completed shortly...a decision will be taken about what further steps should be taken," he said.

When senior BJP leader S S Ahluwalia objected to Chidambaram quoting any newspaper report, the Home Minister said he was not doing so and added "why are you defensive? What are you afraid of ?"

In the Lok Sabha, it was HRD Minister Kapil Sibal who took on BJP and said the oppostion party "wilfully" set out to entrap the opponents in the cash-for-votes scam, according to Tehelka.

"This is a story that stands to turn contemporary discourse on its head. It is a dark story of how three main stream political parties and sections of the media have fooled the nation," he said adding Samajwadi Party "voluntarily fell into the trap."

PTI