Cash-for-votes scam: Amar Singh, three others summoned

August 25th, 2011 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) A day after a charge sheet was filed in the cash-for-votes scandal that rocked parliament during a trust vote in 2008, a district court here Thursday summoned four people, including Rajya Sabha member and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, to appear before it Sep 6.

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued the summons against Amar Singh, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs Fagan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora and Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former associate of BJP leader L.K. Advani.

“All the four accused are summoned to face trial on Sep 6 at 10 a.m.,” the judge said, accepting a Delhi Police plea.

Amar Singh’s former aide Sanjeev Saxena and middleman Suhail Hindustani are already in judicial custody. Warrants were issued to ensure they also attend the proceedings Sep 6.

“Suhail and Saxena are already in judicial custody. They will face trial as per the charges levelled against them in the charge sheet,” the judge said.

The court would hear Saxena’s bail plea Sep 6.

Defence counsel Santosh Pandey earlier sought time to go through the charge sheet and said: “Delhi Police are about to file a status report before the Supreme Court by Sep 2. I request the court to fix a date after that.”

Hindustani’s lawyer would argue on his bail application Friday.

When the court asked police why the other four accused were not arrested, Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said: “We do not have direct evidence against the four accused. Therefore, they have not been arrested.”

“We have arrested Saxena and Hindustani as we had direct evidence of their involvement in the case,” he said.

“We want the court to issue summons against the four accused whose names have figured in the charge sheet,” he said.

In the over 80-page charge sheet, police named Kulkarni as the “mastermind” of the scam.

“Kulkarni throughout remained in contact with other conspirators and played an active role and masterminded (it) and when actually the bribe money was paid to the BJP MPs, he remained present at the spot,” it claimed.

The charge sheet alleged that during investigation “sufficient evidence” came on record that on morning of July 22, 2008, Amar Singh “hatched a criminal conspiracy with his secretary Sanjeev Saxena to deliver cash of Rs.1 crore as illegal gratification”.

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

Police secured permission from Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari before chargesheeting Amar Singh, while a letter has been sent to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar seeking approval to charge sitting BJP MP Ashok Argal.

The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation of a parliamentary panel which probed the scandal.

The trust vote was necessitated after the Left parties withdrew support to the government over the India-US civilian nuclear agreement.

There are 54 witnesses in this case, including CNN-IBN chief Rajdeep Sardesai, police said.

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