BJP offers new ‘evidence’ in cash-for-vote scam

August 3rd, 2008 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday offered fresh “documentary evidence” to back up its charge that three of its MPS were bribed to save the Manmohan Singh government during the trust vote last month. “We have seen the subversion of parliament, media and truth. We want to bring to the notice of the public the reality behind the cash for vote scandal. The victory (in the July 22 trust vote) has been tainted,” BJP spokesperson Arun Jaitley told reporters here.

Criticising the TV channel CNN-IBN for not telecasting an undercover operation that videotaped alleged bribery, he said the party now had fresh evidence to prove that the ruling Congress party and their new ally Samajwadi party had bribed three BJP MPs - Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora.

“We expected the channel to show the sting operation. We want the parliamentary committee to probe this,” he said.

The three MPs shocked parliament and the nation when they waved wads of cash in the Lok Sabha shortly before the government was to face the trust vote on July 22. The three accused Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel of offering them bribes to abstain during the vote.

The BJP has claimed that the MPs were offered Rs.30 million (Rs. 3 crores) each and were paid Rs.10 (Rs. 1 crore) million each as advance.

Amar Singh and Patel, both Rajya Sabha members, have denied the charge.

Jaitley said Argal and Kulaste had written a 17-page detailed letter presenting fresh evidence to the chairman of a seven-member parliamentary committee constituted to probe the matter.

“These two MPs have submitted a letter along with some documentary evidence that can give leads to the scam and can be used for investigations,” he said.

“The committee should go into these facts and probe the matter,” he added.

Jaitley said the MPs had given transcripts of the video recording and relevant statistics to the committee chairman.

He said the channel’s cameraperson and reporter were present when the “sting operation” was being conducted at Argal’s 4 Ferozeshah Road residence.

“There statements can be corroborated and can be used as independent evidence in the matter,” he said.

Jaitley said Samajwadi Party MP Reoti Raman Singh came to meet Argal at his residence and asked him to come and meet his leader to decide about the amount for abstaining from the voting.

“In the face of this subversion, we as a political party made an effort to bring out the truth when other institutions were collapsing in front of us,” he added.

The BJP last week declared it would “boycott” CNN-IBN and its affiliated channels till it telecast the “sting operation”.

Jaitley said it had been quite clear from the government spokesperson’s statements that they were going to manage victory with cross-voting and abstention. “But the question was on what basis this would be done. And this became clear on July 22 evening that this was being done by bribery.”

Commenting on another undercover operation that purportedly showed that the cash-for-vite “sting operation” was orchestrated by the party itself, Jaitley said: “This is subversion of truth by people in high places. It is a big challenge before parliament, media and the truth.”

He also urged the parliamentary committee to probe the second “fake sting operation”.

“The parliamentary committee should go into the facts to find out the truth when other institutions are collapsing,” he said.

The BJP leader expressed concern at the month-long violent protests in Jammu over the Amarnath shrine board land dispute.

Jaitley also appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to heed to the demand of protesters to transfer the land back to the shrine board. “The authorities and the government cannot stop agitation like this. We want the agitation to be peaceful but there is lot of anger.”

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