Highlights of court order on bail for 6 in cash-for-votes

November 16th, 2011 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted bail to six accused in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam that had rocked parliament ahead of a trust vote. Following are the highlights of Justice M.L. Mehta’s order and the proceedings of the day:

– If there was any conspiracy between the petitioners (accused), amongst themselves, or with bribe givers, they would not have associated themselves with the CNN-IBN news channel and exposed themselves to the act of taking money before the camera.

– I have gone through the entire voluminous charge sheet but could not find any prima facie evidence on record of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification by the three (Bharatiya Janata Party) MPs.

– If the intention of the petitioner MPs was to receive bribe, they would have done so and kept the amount so received silently instead of producing the same in parliament immediately thereafter.

– Admittedly, no action was taken by the parliament except that of appointing a parliamentary inquiry committee. It is noted that some of the members of the inquiry committee have also given dissenting views.

– Justice Mehta also granted anticipatory bail to sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ashok Argal and asked the six accused, including Amar Singh’s former aide Sanjeev Saxena and political activist Suhail Hindustani, to furnish a personal and surety bond of Rs.2 lakh each as pre-condition for bail.

– The judge allowed the plea of accused BJP MPs that the accused wanted to expose the Congress and the Samajwadi party as they would not have planned the sting with the news channel, if they intended to accept the illegal gratification.

– Even according to the prosecution, the basic requirement of mens rea (criminal motive) to accept bribe so as to (bring it) within the ambit of Prevention of Corruption Act was lacking on the part of all the petitioners, the court said.

– With regard to petitioner Sudheendra Kulkarni, it may be noted that he was not a public servant and he was neither the giver or the taker of money and was also not present at the time of the alleged negotiations.

– His role is of introducing the petitioner MPs and CNN-IBN team and, thus, his role was similar to that of the team of CNN-IBN against which there was no charge of any kind.

– Discussing the role of Hindustani, the court said his role was that of a “whistle blower” who engineered the sting operation.

– Saxena was not a beneficiary of the scam and, moreover, is in jail since July 17.

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