Cash-for-votes: Kulkarni, ex-BJP MPs move HC for bail

Cash-for-votes: Kulkarni, ex-BJP MPs move HC for bail New Delhi: Sudheendra Kulkarni, former aide of BJP leader L K Advani and an accused in cash-for-vote case, on Saturday moved the Delhi High Court against refusal of bail to him by the trial court.

Besides Kulkarni, former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora also approached High Court challenging the verdict of the trial court dismissing their bail pleas.

Kulkarni, who is in jail since September 27, has challenged the trial court's rejection of his bail plea saying he was the "guiding star" and "facilitator" of the "conspiracy aimed at mocking" the Republic of India.

In the petition filed through advocate Mahipal Ahluwalia, Kulkarni said he, along with the BJP MPs, got involved in the sting operation, conducted by a private news channel only to expose the "horse trading" that was going on to save the then UPA-I government in the vote of trust in the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

Claiming themselves to be "whistleblowers" who helped in exposing the corruption to save the government, they pleaded the trial court had wrongly dismissed their plea for bail and that order should be set aside.

The trial court had on October 21 dismissed the bail pleas of Kulkarni, Bhagora and Kulaste.

The court had brushed aside the contentions of the accused of being whistleblowers in the case saying despite having "ample opportunities" they did not disclose about the bribe given to them to any law enforcing agency.

Besides, the then former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, BJP MP Ashok Argal, SP MP Rewati Raman Singh have also been made accused in the case.

The High Court had earlier granted bail to Amar Sigh on medical ground and it had also stayed the summoning order issued by the trial court to Rewati Raman Singh.

Besides the political leaders, alleged BJP activist Suhail Hindustani and Amar Singh's aide Sanjeev Saxena are facing prosecution in the case for their alleged complicity in the case.

Questioning the probe done by the Delhi Police in the case, Kulaste, who has filed his petition through advocate Anil Soni, said he was entitled to bail as the investigation in the case was "tainted" and police had not yet traced the money trail.

The trial court, while dismissing the bail pleas of Kulaste and Bhagora, had said that it appeared that since July 21, 2008 the accused remained part of the criminal conspiracy hatched between Hindustani and Kulkarni.

Kulkarni along with the two BJP MPs is currently lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody.

Kulaste and Bhagora were arrested on September 6 along with Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh. Sanjeev Saxena and Hindustani are also in judicial custody for their alleged role in the offence.

Kulkarni has been charge sheeted under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and provision of Prevention of Corruption Act.