Amar Singh, BJP MPs let off in cash-for-votes scam

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Photo: Vijay Pandey
Amar Singh Photo: Vijay Pandey

A Delhi court has dropped charges against former Samajwadi Party MP, Amar Singh, three BJP MPs and others in the cash-for-votes scam. However, it has indicted Singh’s aide, Sunil Saxena, in the judicial proceedings in the cash-for-votes scam related to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

This almost brings to an end one of the chief controversies around the former SP leader accused by the BJP of conspiring to buy the votes of BJP MPs to vote in favour of the UPA-led government’s deal with the United States to enter into a nuclear energy pact. However, the trial against Singh’s aide will begin from 25 November and the court has the space to decide whether Singh acted on his own or on someone else’s instance.
The sessions court of Narottam Kaushal pronounced its order on the framing of charges against Singh due to lack of evidence. The court’s order sanctifies the BJP MPs’ claim that they had participated in the transaction because it was part of a sting operation. The BJP leaders include Sudheendra Kulkarni, former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s media advisor and a senior journalist, MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashok Argal and Mahabir Singh Bhagora.
“Justice had been done to some extent,” said Kulkarni. He chose not to comment on how Singh’s aide could be charged with the scam without him being complicit in it. “I had said the day I was released from Tihar jail that one day justice would prevail.”
The high-profile scam led to speculation that powerful and senior politicians of the Congress, including Ahmed Patel, were involved in ‘purchasing’ votes for a parliamentary vote on the Indo-US nuclear deal.
The BJP had claimed that it had approached TV channel CNN-IBN for an investigative sting operation on the actual transaction. The sting operation could not decisively proved whether the Congress-led UPA was actually trying to purchase votes or the BJP was trying to entrap the ruling party.
In the investigation of the sting, the evidence was deemed inconclusive. The videos do not show if there was an actual sting operation in which Singh or others could be nailed. But, the court has sanctified the validity of the sting operation and exonerated the BJP MPs since their motive was to expose corruption. Sohail Hindustani, a low-level fixer, who set up the transaction for the sting operation, was also involved. He has also been given a clean chit by the court.
A leaked US diplomatic cable by Wikileaks in 2011 had also given some credence to the conspiracy behind the scam.

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