Cash-for-votes case: Court permits further probe



New Delhi: A court hearing the 2008 case on the alleged bribing of MPs by the UPA government to survive a confidence vote in parliament Monday allowed a plea by an accused seeking further investigations into the money trail.

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal allowed former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Faggan Singh Kulaste's plea seeking a direction to police for tracing the source of the money involved in the case.

"The investigating agency is reminded of their undertaking and the direction of Supreme Court of India contained in the order dated Sep 2, 2011 to find the source of money," said the court.

The court has asked for a reply within six weeks.

Anil Soni, Kulaste's counsel, had requested the court earlier to direct police to trace a man seen wearing a yellow shirt in the visuals of a sting operation carried out July 22, 2008, the day the scandal hit the Lok Sabha.

"The charge sheet filed by police has failed to give any details of the man. Police must tell whether that man wearing a yellow shirt is an accused or not and whether he is absconding," said Soni.

Soni said that the man had actively used his mobile phone to contact (then Samajwadi Party leader) Amar Singh from co-accused BJP MP Ashok Argal's house, as seen on the recorded sting CDs, but police have deliberately left out this aspect from the investigation.

"Police have neither shown the man wearing yellow shirt to be wanted/absconder nor have seriously tried to find or trace him. If he is not traceable, it can be inferred he has been murdered so that the money trail could not be established and the source of money remains a secret," said Soni.

Police in their charge sheet, filed earlier, said that during investigation, sufficient evidence had come on record that on the morning of July 22, 2008, Amar Singh had hatched a criminal conspiracy with his secretary to deliver Rs 1 crore as illegal gratification.

On that day, three BJP MPs - Kulaste, Argal and Mahabir Singh Bhagora - had waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government in the trust vote, caused by the Left parties withdrawing support over the India-US civilian nuclear deal.

IANS