A Delhi court on Friday discharged two BJP MPs Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste, former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, and the former aide of senior BJP leader L. K. Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni, besides former BJP MP Mahavir Singh Bhagora and BJP activist Sohail Hindustani in the 2008 cash-for-vote ‘sting operation’ case.
However, the court directed framing of charges against Mr. Amar Singh’s former associate Sanjeev Saxena under the Prevention of Corruption Act, for allegedly abetting the crime.
While the court did not find the circumstances against Mr. Amar Singh going beyond the realm of suspicion, it observed that Mr. Kulkarni’s role was only limited to introducing a television channel team to Mr. Argal, Mr. Kulaste and Mr. Bhagora. There was no direct evidence against Mr. Kulkarni for committing any illegal act, the court said.
The court also said the meeting with the television channel team took place to expose horse-trading in Parliament. The three other BJP leaders, by inviting the television channel team to the Lok Sabha and appearing before the cameras, had also not indulged in any illegal act, it said. Nor did the court find evidence against Mr. Hindustani.
In 2008, Mr. Argal, Mr. Kulaste and Mr. Bhagora had waved currency notes in the Lok Sabha, alleging that they had been bribed to vote in favour of the confidence motion over the India-U.S nuclear deal. The Delhi Police Crime Branch registered a case against the seven persons in 2009, and filed the first charge sheet against them in August 2011, for allegedly conspiring to conduct a ‘sting operation’ to show that they had been approached and bribed to favour the motion.