Cash-for-vote scandal: SP, BJP MPs questioned

July 25th, 2011 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Ashok Argal were Monday separately questioned in the 2008 parliamentary cash-for-vote scam. While Singh denied he had bribed three BJP MPs ahead of the trust vote, Argal said he had been approached by the former.

While Rewati Raman Singh was questioned on the alleged calls he received from former BJP Yuva Morcha member Suhail Hindustani to strike a deal with BJP MPs before the trust vote in the Lok Sabha, Argal was grilled on how he came in touch with Singh and who paid the bribe money.

Singh was questioned in the morning, and Argal, who was allegedly offered the bribe, arrived at the Delhi Police Crime Branch office at 4 p.m.

Singh, an MP from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, arrived at the inter-state cell of the Crime Branch in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri at 11.45 a.m. He was questioned for around 90 minutes by the Crime Branch team led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Chand.

“He was questioned for allegedly bribing the three BJP MPs. He, however, refuted the charges and said that he met the three BJP leaders on account of their wanting to join the SP,” said a source, adding that he also said that he never spoke to Suhail Hindustani.

“I have told police what I had said before the parliamentary committee. The conspiracy behind the cash for vote has to be exposed,” Singh said after the questioning.

The Saamajwadi MP had told the parliamentary committee that the BJP MPs met him on account of wanting to join the Samajwadi Party.

However, Argal, who was also grilled for around 90 minutes, told police that it was the other way round and that Singh approached him. “He alleged that Rewati Raman Singh will have to explain what was he doing at his house on the midnight of July 21 and 22,” added the source.

Argal, after the questioning, said why would he join the SP or Congress. “I will die as a BJP worker. My father was jailed for 19 months during Emergency. Then why should I join the Congress or the BJP? No such question arises,” he said.

Argal stressed that he appeared before the police responding to a summons and expected that the probe will be on the right path. “I am being questioned after police had given a clean chit to the Congress and SP leaders. After the probe, the truth will prevail,” he said.

The BJP MPs — Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora — had claimed that Singh first contacted them on behalf of the then Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, whom they met later. Sanjeev Saxena, a former aide of Amar Singh, then delivered an advance sum of Rs.1 crore.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh was grilled for nearly four hours July 22 over the alleged bribery of three BJP lawmakers during the 2008 trust vote.

Before Amar Singh, both Saxena and Hindustani were questioned and then arrested. They are in jail in connection with the alleged scam.

Saxena alleged that Amar Singh, then with the Samajwadi Party, had provided Rs.1 crore for buying the support of three BJP MPs in the trust vote the Manmohan Singh government sought in 2008. Wads of currency notes were shown in the Lok Sabha July 22, 2008, minutes before the vote was to take place.

Hindustani, who allegedly played the ‘liaison man’ as claimed by police between the SP leader and the BJP MPs, also levelled the same allegations against Amar Singh.

The investigation into the case was speeded up after the Supreme Court last week slammed Delhi Police for their tardy approach in the case.

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