Cash-for-vote scam: BJP MPs tell court they were whistleblowers
Posted on: 05:44 PM IST Apr 27, 2013
New Delhi: BJP MP Faggan Singh Kulaste and former MP Mahabir Singh Bhagora, who are accused in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam, on Saturday told a Delhi court that they were whisteblowers and their intention was to "expose horse trading" in Parliament. "Our intention from the beginning was to expose horse trading and the substance of the entire charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police shows that it was a sting," Rajya Sabha MP Kulaste and Bhagora's counsel Anil Soni told Special Judge Narottam Kaushal.
He also claimed that it was Amar Singh who had made a phone call to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who allegedly said the money would be arranged. Despite their repeated pleas, the police did not provide them with the call details of Amar Singh, Patel and also the three prosecution witness S P Gupta, Lovely Singh and Aman Arora. They have not even collected the call details, he said.
The court was hearing the arguments on framing of charges in the cash for vote scam of 2008 to bribe the MPs ahead of the trust vote in which former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, Sudheendra Kulkarni, BJP leader LK Advani's former aide, BJP MP Ashok Argal, Suhail Hindustani, Sanjeev Saxena, Amar Singh's former aide are also accused. "The idea was not to accept illegal gratification but to make horse trading public," Kulaste and Bhagora submitted.
On Friday, while commencing the arguments on framing of charges, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran had said that the defence argument that the entire episode was a sting is not correct. He had submitted that had the intention been to conduct a sting, the MPs would have informed the law enforcement agency and that the accused had twin objectives of conducting the
sting and also taking the illegal gratification.
All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. The case was registered in 2009 on recommendation by a Parliamentary panel which had probed the scam. The first charge sheet in the matter was filed in August 2011 in which all but Argal were named as accused. Police had accused Amar Singh and Kulkarni of "conspiring" and "masterminding" the scam to bribe some MPs ahead of the July 22, 2008 confidence vote in Lok Sabha.
All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. The case was registered in 2009 on recommendation by a Parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.