'Bribe-givers thought BJP MPs were vulnerable'



New Delhi: Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Saturday said the party MPs, who exposed the cash-for-votes scam in Parliament, were approached by bribe-givers as they presumed the three law makers would be vulnerable since they belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

In his latest blog posting, Advani pushed for an effective legislation to protect whistleblowers and cited the example of IOC employee Manjunath Shanmugham and NHAI employee Satyendra Dubey, who were both killed for exposing the corrupt.

Advani lamented in the blog that two of the three whistle-blower MPs in the cash-for-votes scam, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora, were arrested even though they had exposed attempts to buy MPs for the July 2008 Trust Vote.

"The three MPs who made history in 2008 by laying bare this scam were Kulaste, a tribal, Bhagora and Argal, both Scheduled Caste. Obviously, those who approached them with cash presumed that these MPs would be vulnerable," Advani wrote on his blog.

Advani was Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha in 2008.

He recounts how he was "extremely upset" when on September 06 last, Kulaste and Bhagora were arrested and sent to Tihar. Since Argal is a sitting MP, his case has been referred by the Lok Sabha Speaker to the Attorney General.

Advani had raised this issue in the Lok Sabha during the recent monsoon session and said, "If government thinks that what they (the whistleblower MPs) have done is wrong and so has put them behind bars I would like to tell the Treasury Benches, I am even more guilty because I did not restrain them. Send me also to Tihar."

Advani said on his blog that he holds the cash-for-votes scam as the "most shameful" in the political history of independent India.

"It has been a black spot not only for the UPA government; it has besmirched Indian democracy as well," he said, and hailed the three BJP MPs for doing "a signal service to democracy" by exposing the "dark deed" of the government.

The senior BJP leader also refers to the Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by M Veerappa Moily which had emphasised on giving statutory protection to whistleblowers and declared it an "ethical act".

"Statutory protection may be necessary for government employees. But for Members of Parliament ethical conduct is a justification by itself," Advani said.

The main opposition has been demanding that a Whistleblowers Protection Bill be passed at the earliest.

PTI