Clean chit for Amar Singh, Ahmad Patel in cash-for-trust vote scam (Lead)December 15th, 2008 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Congress leader Ahmed Patel and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh were Monday exonerated by a parliamentary panel that probed allegations that they had bought votes ahead of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s trust vote on July 22. A seven-member panel under the chairmanship of Congress’ V. Kishore Chandra S. Deo was formed after three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs - Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora - stunned the nation by brandishing wads of cash in the Lok Sabha shortly before the Manmohan Singh government was to face the trust vote July 22 evening.
The BJP MPs had alleged that they were given Rs.30 million each to abstain during the trust vote.
“Not an iota of evidence either in the page or in any of the depositions made by the witnesses who appeared before the committee which may prove Ahmed Patel’s involvement in the alleged offer of money to the complainant,” the panel said in its report
“Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste admitted having never met Patel and also that they did not recognise his voice. The committee (is) therefore of the view that there is practically no case against Patel. His alleged complicity in the episode is based entirely on presumptions and surmises,” it went on to add.
The panel found no evidence to back the charge of the three MPs even in the case of the Amar Singh and his party colleague Rewati Raman Singh, who was also implicated.
The report said: “There is no direct evidence against Amar Singh.”
“The committee observed that the allegations that Rewati Raman Singh sought to influence the three members to either vote against or abstain from voting on the confidence motion and persuade them to meet Amar Singh at the latter’s instance could not be substantiated with the help of any clinching evidence,” it added.
“For want of any such recording of the impugned conversation/talk or any other proof with regard to offer of money, it is not possible to come to any conclusion on the veracity of the allegations or otherwise.”
However, the panel has demanded that the role of Sanjeev Saxena, said to be Amar Singh’s aide and accused of being a conduit for delivering the money to the BJP MPs, be further probed.
“The committee (members), after taking stock of the situation in its entirety, are of the considered view that the role and involvement of Sanjeev Saxena in the matter needs to be further investigated,” the report said.
Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi described the report as politically motivated and one that had failed to send a message against corruption.
“The panel has failed in its attempt to send a message against corruption that has seeped deep into politics. This report is politically motivated and it has been done to save people involved in whole controversy because of political reasons,” Naqvi said.
Demanding that the BJP MPs be expelled for defaming the sanctity of parliament and Indian democracy, Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Kamal Akhter said the truth had been revealed.
“These were completely baseless allegations. The truth has been revealed. Now, the BJP MPs should be expelled from the parliament because they have defamed the sanctity of parliament and our democratic set up,” Akhter said.
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