Cash-for-vote: Court wants money trail probed

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 15, 2012 14:00 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) A court hearing the case on the alleged bribing of MPs by the UPA government to survive a 2008 confidence vote in parliament Monday allowed a plea by an accused seeking further investigations into the money trail.

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal allowed former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Faggan Singh Kulaste's plea seeking a direction to police for tracing the source of the money involved in the case."The investigating agency is reminded of their undertaking and the direction of Supreme Court of India contained in the order dated Sep 2, 2011 to find the source of money," said the court. The court has asked for a reply within six weeks.

The court added that it is impressed upon the investigating agency to make sincere efforts to trace the identity of the man wearing yellow shirt as seen in video footage, gather the result of probe made by news channel.

The court noted that no efforts were made to trace the yellow-shirted man by publishing a look-out notice in any news paper.

"The investigating agency shall within six weeks from the date of order submit an additional chargesheet if any in accordance with law," the court ordered.

"I am of the considered view that the investigating agency was bound to investigate the case in a fair and impartial manner, leaving no loopholes, clear all knots of doubts and install confidence in the public mind," said the court.

Anil Soni, counsel of Kulaste, requested the court earlier to direct police to trace a man seen wearing a yellow shirt in the visuals of a sting carried out July 22, 2008, the day the scandal hit the Lok Sabha.

"The chargesheet filed by police has failed to give any details of the man. Police must tell whether that man wearing a yellow shirt is an accused or not and whether he is absconding," said Soni.

Soni said that the man had actively used his mobile phone to contact (then Samajwadi Party leader) Amar Singh from co-accused BJP MP Ashok Argal's house, as seen on the recorded sting CDs, but police have deliberately left out this aspect from the investigation.

Police said in their chargesheet that during investigation sufficient evidence had come on record that on the morning of July 22, 2008, Amar Singh had hatched a criminal conspiracy with his secretary to deliver Rs.1 crore as illegal gratification.

On that day, three BJP MPs - Kulaste, Argal and Mahabir Singh Bhagora - had waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government in the trust vote, caused by the Left parties withdrawing support over the India-US civilian nuclear deal.

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