Cash-for-vote: Saxena in 3-day police custody
New Delhi: Sanjeev Saxena, believed to be a close aide of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, arrested on Sunday in connection with the cash-for-vote scam, was on Monday remanded to three-day police custody by a city court here.
Special judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal remanded Saxena to police custody till July 21, on the plea by Delhi Police Crime Branch that his custodial interrogation is required to get to the bottom of the "conspiracy".
Saxena will be interrogated by the Delhi police on the source of money, which he was seen in a sting operation, handing over to three BJP MPs to secure their support during the no-confidence motion over the Indo-US nuclear deal on July 22, 2008.
Seeking Saxena's custody, prosecution submitted that they have to question him to know the whereabouts of Sanjay, the then driver of Amar Singh with whom he had allegedly gone to the residence of a BJP MP to hand over a sum of Rs one crore.
The prosecution also submitted that they have to recover the mobile phone used during that period and to ascertain the source of money which allegedly changed hands in the scam.
Saxena has been charged with various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the police said.
The police action has come close on the heels of the Supreme Court coming down heavily on Delhi Police for its “shoddy” probe into cash-for-vote scam.
This is the first arrest made so far in this scam.
As the Delhi Police is expanding its ambit of probe, reports say it could possibly question Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh.
The investigators have sent a letter to the Union Home Ministry in which they are understood to have sought its views and directions to question Singh and another MP.
Under the law, a permission is required from Rajya Sabha Chairman or Lok Sabha Speaker if the parliamentarians are to be questioned.
Earlier, the Home Ministry had given the go-ahead for the arrest after Crime Branch of Delhi police questioned two former BJP MPs Fagan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora in connection with the case.
Three BJP MPs, Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora, were allegedly bribed by floor managers of the UPA government to secure their support during the no-confidence motion over the Indo-US nuclear deal on July 22, 2008. The exchange of cash was caught by a sting operation done by a private news channel.
The MPs alleged that it was Saxena who had delivered Rs one crore in cash to them at 4 Ferozshah Road residence of Ashok Argal on July 22, 2008, hours before the vote of confidence in Lok Sabha.
According to BJP, SP leader Reoti Raman Singh allegedly met BJP MPs Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora at Argal's residence where the transaction was discussed.
This was purportedly recorded through hidden cameras by a television channel which did not telecast the tape on the ground that its investigations were not complete.
These MPs travelled to 27 Lodi Estate on July 22, the day of the voting. The car which took the MPs to the residence of Singh was followed by the channel and its movements allegedly recorded.
The MPs alleged that the tape had Saxena repeatedly calling a number.
In a sting operation CD, Saxena was seen handing over bundles of notes to the three MPs.
BJP alleged that it was Saxena who had called Amar Singh from his mobile phone and got the three MPs to talk to him in order to fix a deal. Amar Singh has denied any role in the scam and has distanced himself from Saxena.
A seven-member parliamentary panel had probed the allegations and asked the Delhi Police to investigate the role of Saxena, besides that of Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former aide of BJP leader LK Advani and Suhail Hindustani in the case.