PM, Sonia must apologise for cash-for-votes scam: Gadkari (Lead)

November 20th, 2011 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari Sunday raised the pitch on the 2008 cash-for-votes scam in parliament, asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to apologise to the country for putting “innocent” party members in jail in the case.

“Our MPs were innocent whistle blowers but the corrupt Congress government put them in jail. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi should apologise to the nation for this,” Gadkari said while addressing a rally at Ramlila Maidan to mark the conclusion of party veteran L.K. Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra.

“The bail (given by court) proves our MPs are innocent, they were put in jail by the corrupt Congress,” Gadkari said.

Gadkari also attacked prime minister, saying: “I pity the PM. No one listens to him”.

Advani himself said that the arrest was one of the key reasons for his taking up the yatra, and was happy that their stand was vindicated before the road campaign ended.

He said that the arrest of party colleagues Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora in the case triggered his yatra.

“I was so shocked that they were sent to jail, this was the main background of my yatra,” he said.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, an advisor to Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he was the prime minister, and alleged political activist Suhail Hindustani were also arrested in the scam. Sitting BJP MP Ashok Argal was also named as an accused in the case.

Bail was granted to Kulkarni, Kulaste, Bhagora and Hindustani last week while anticipatory bail was given to Argal.

“I also raised the issue in parliament” and said that everything happened with my knowledge, Advani said.

He, however added, “The problem due to which the yatra started, ended before it (yatra) ended.”

Kulkarni, along with the two former BJP MPs and Hindustani was released from Tihar jail Thursday evening, and was felicitated by the BJP Saturday.

On July 22, 2008, Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha just hours ahead of a trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government. Kulkarni was accused of masterminding the scam.

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