Kulkarni, 2 former BJP MPs walk out of Tihar jail



New Delhi: After spending over a month in Tihar jail, Sudheendra Kulkarni, former aide of BJP leader LK Advani, and two ex-BJP MPs Mahavir Singh Bhagora and Faggan Singh Kulaste walked out this evening on bail in the cash-for-votes scam.

"I thank the High Court. We have got independence again. Our stand has been vindicated," Kulkarni, who was welcomed with garlands, told reporters outside Tihar.

Looking relaxed, a smiling Kulkarni said, "I salute all BJP leaders and members who supported us. Our struggle will continue. The whole truth has not come out as yet. Those who gave the bribes, who were behind them. The ultimate beneficiary is the Government, that has to be exposed."

Kulkarni has been accused by the Delhi Police of masterminding a conspiracy in 2008 which saw three BJP MPs putting themselves on the market ahead of a trust vote in Parliament. He was arrested on September 27.

On July 22, 2008, the then three BJP MPs Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha hours ahead of the trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.

They were allegedly paid Rs.one crore in cash as an advance for a purported Rs.nine crore deal.

Sanjeev Saxena, former aide to politican Amar Singh, and Sohail Hindustani, who claims to have served as a BJP youth activist, were also released from prison today. Argal has got anticipatory bail.

Amar Singh, also arrested in the case, was granted bail earlier for medical reasons. He has denied the charges of having any role in the case.

"The Congress-led UPA government was indeed trying to purchase MPs and we acted as whistle-blowers", said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, adding that the MPs carried out the whole operation with the knowledge of a media house.

Defending its MPs of only playing the role of whistle-blower, Sitharaman said, "No prima facie case is being made out. There is no intention of giving or taking bribe... It is clear that they only participated in whistle-blower operation. There is no conspiracy."

The BJP leader also raised a number of questions on why only the BJP MPs were targeted and sent to Tihar jail in the cash-for-vote scam and no action was initiated against others in the case, including the Congress-led UPA government which was the real beneficiary of the scam.

While granting bail to them yesterday, the Delhi High Court had virtually questioned the foundation of the cash-for- vote scam, saying had they wanted bribe, they would not have conducted a sting operation.

PTI