Seven-member committee to probe cash for vote scam (Lead)

July 26th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee Saturday set up a seven-member committee to probe allegations by three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs that they were bribed by the Samajwadi Party and Congress to abstain during the trust vote in parliament on Tuesday. Headed by C. Kishore Chandra Deo, who also heads the house privileges committee, the committee will go through the evidence and submit its report by Aug 11, the scheduled opening of the monsoon session of parliament.

Besides Deo, other committee members, all MPs, include V.K. Malhotra (BJP), Mohammad Salim (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Devendra Prasad Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal), Rajesh Varma (Bahujan Samaj Party), C. Kuppusami (DMK).

The seven members have been chosen from the 11-member committee set up by Chatterjee earlier to look into allegations of misconduct by MPs on the floor of parliament.

The BJP filed a formal complaint with the speaker on the issue Friday.

The complaint, filed jointly by Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora, is said to have named Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh as the mastermind. Ahmed Patel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, too finds mention.

The complaint recounts the sequence of events that culminated in the dramatic scenes that rocked the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the trust vote on Tuesday when the three waved wads of currency notes, which they alleged had been offered to them to abstain during the vote.

They alleged on the floor of the House that they had been offered Rs.90 million each to abstain during the trust vote and been paid an advance of Rs. 10 million each.

Both Amar Singh and Patel have denied the charges and said they will quit public life if there is any evidence of them offering or giving money to any MP.

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