New CD shows BJP, former SP man behind cash-for-votes scam (Lead)

August 4th, 2008 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) In yet another twist to the cash-for-votes scam, three allies of the ruling Congress Monday released a fresh CD purportedly showing that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the help of a former Samajwadi Party worker had “stage-managed” the incident ahead of the July 22 trust vote. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) supremo Ram Vilas Paswan presented a CD - the third one since the scam broke out on July 22 - claiming that the BJP with the help of an aide of a former Samajwadi Party MP, Shahid Siddiqui, was behind the controversy. Siddiqui has joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

“All the claims of BJP leaders have been proved wrong,” said Mulayam Singh, addressing a crowded press conference at Paswan’s 12, Janpath residence.

Although the CD - the party did not divulge where it has come from - was played on a big screen at the press conference, the leaders were not ready to take any questions from the media.

The three socialist parties were sharing the same platform for the first time in a decade Monday.

They said the CD had come in an envelope to Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh’s house. The CD shows sting operations on Faggan Singh Kulaste, one of the three BJP MPs allegedly being bribed, and Sanjiv Saxena, who had earlier worked with the Samajwadi Party.

Amar Singh, who is alleged to have bribed the BJP MPs to make them abstain during the trust vote, claimed that Saxena had never worked with him and was with Shahid Siddiqui, who joined the BSP recently.

Three BJP MPs - Ashok Argal, Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora - stunned the nation by brandishing wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha during a debate ahead of the trust vote. The BJP alleges that Amar Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser Ahmed Patel offered the BJP members a bribe of Rs.30 million each to abstain from the voting and paid them an advance of Rs.10 million each.

Mulayam Singh said: “They (the BJP leaders) understood that they would not get majority in parliament on July 22. That is why they did this in order to make it an issue for the elections. They have lowered the dignity of parliament.”

He assured that if Amar Singh’s involvement is proved, his party would take action against him.

Later speaking to journalists, Amar Singh said he would quit the party on his own if such a situation arises.

Mulayam Singh alleged that BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley had a crucial role in the scam. “We are shocked that a person like Arun Jaitley would do something like this, this is equal to hiding crime,” he said.

“When some people allegedly visited the BJP MPs’ house to deliver money, why was it not handed over to police? Finger printing tests could have led to some evidence,” Mulayam Singh said.

Asked Paswan: “They claim they received a call asking them to come in the morning, but why did they go? Why didn’t they get them arrested and call up the Lok Sabha Speaker when the men came to give them the money. How come they were able to take Rs.10 million inside parliament and put it on the Speaker’s table?” Paswan added.

Railways Minister Lalu Prasad was more political.

“By taking Amar Singh’s name, the fascist and communal forces cannot save themselves,” he said, adding that the CDs would expose the BJP in front of voters.

Lalu Prasad reiterated his demand for a narco-analysis of the three BJP MPs. He said there was no evidence in the CD that proved the involvement of Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel.

The CNN-IBN television channel had done a “sting operation” on the alleged bribing. But the channel has not aired the episode of how the bribe money exchanged hands. They have submitted the CD to the Speaker.

The 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 the BJP had stage-managed the entire episode.

However, BJP leader Jaitely has said they had “fresh documentary evidence” to prove that the three MPs were bribed by Amar SIngh and Patel.

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