Lok Sabha panel on cash-for-votes scam gets more time

August 9th, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) The seven member Lok Sabha panel constituted to look into three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs’ allegations that they were bribed to abstain during the July 22 trust vote has been given an extension till Aug 29 to submit its report to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. The speaker-appointed committee headed by Congress MP V. Kishore Chandra Deo was earlier asked to submit its report by Aug 11. However, Deo, who had stated that he did not want to conclude the probe in a hurry, had sought more time to look into the issue.

The three MPs, Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora, July 22 evening stunned the nation by brandishing wads of cash in the Lok Sabha shortly before the Manmohan Singh government was to face the trust vote.

They accused Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel of offering them bribes to abstain from the crucial vote.

The Lok Sabha panel has already watched the video and audio tapes of the sting operation conducted by the CNN-IBN television channel and questioned both Kulaste and Argal.

The committee has asked CNN-IBN to send its representatives to appear before it at the next meeting Aug 11.

A second CD, which reportedly turned out to be a bogus one, was presented by former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti, who also claimed that BJP had stage-managed the entire episode.

Three allies of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) - Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janashakti Party and Samajwadi Party - also released a fresh CD a few days back showing that the BJP had “stage-managed” the episode for political gains during the July 22 trust vote.

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