Advani, Jaitley meet Kulkarni, ex-MPs in Tihar

September 28th, 2011 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley Wednesday met two former party MPs and Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, imprisoned in the cash-for-votes scam.

The two leaders reached the jail at around 3 p.m. “The meeting lasted for half-an-hour,” Sunil Gupta, law officer and spokesperson told IANS.

The meeting took place in at the superintendent’s office in jail number three. All the three accused are housed in the same jail.

Coming out after the meeting, Jaitley said that the two former MPs - Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora - and Kulkarni have not committed any crime.

“Our MPs and Kulkarni have committed no crime. In the 2008 vote of confidence in Lok Sabha, 19 MPs either cross-voted or abstained. At that time there were allegations that money power is being used.

“Their (the two MPs and Kulkarni’s) intention was not to bring the money home. So we believe they committed no crime,” he said.

“We wanted to find out how they are,” he told reporters.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had earlier met the two ex-MPs in the jail.

Kulkarni was Tuesday sent to judicial custody till Oct 1 in connection with the 2008 scandal. The two former BJP MPs were arrested Sep 6.

On July 22, 2008, Kulaste, Bhagora and another BJP MP, Ashok Argal, waved wads of currency notes on the floor of the Lok Sabha ahead of a trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.

Since Argal is a member of the current Lok Sabha, Delhi Police had sought Speaker Meira Kumar’s permission to act against him. This permisssion is yet to be received.

A case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation of a parliamentary panel that probed the scandal.

Delhi Police, in its charge-sheet, has described Kulkarni as the mastermind of the cash-for-votes operation. Kulkarni, however, maintains that he acted as a whistleblower and a political activist in 2008 when he persuaded three BJP MPs to put themselves on the political market ahead of a parliament trust vote.

The court turned down Kulkarni’s plea for interim bail, saying it was “devoid of merit.” The court will hear his regular bail plea Saturday.

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