On a day of high drama, the former Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh, was arrested and sent to the Tihar Central Jail here on Tuesday after a special court rejected his interim bail application in the cash-for-vote scam case.
A summons was issued to him after the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police charge-sheeted him. He allegedly hatched a criminal conspiracy to deliver Rs.1 crore in advance payment to three BJP Lok Sabha members to vote in favour of a trust motion moved by the UPA government in July 2008.
Dismissing his interim bail plea, which was sought on medical grounds, the court remanded Mr. Singh in judicial custody till September 19, pending a hearing on his regular bail application, on which the prosecution will have to reply on September 14.
Mr. Singh initially failed to appear on the summons issued to him, citing medical reasons. He, however, showed up later to the surprise of his lawyers. He earned a minor reprieve late in the afternoon, when Special Judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal took on file a second interim bail application, which he moved after the first petition was rejected, and directed the Crime Branch to respond on September 8.
Hariharan, counsel for Mr. Singh, moved the second application on medical grounds. He said his client had undergone a kidney transplant abroad last year and was now “perpetually unwell,” susceptible to infections and heavily dependent on medication.
He also reminded the judge of biscuit baron Rajan Pillai's death after his health deteriorated at the Tihar Jail. He submitted a medical certificate on Mr. Singh's condition, following which Ms. Sehgal sought detailed medical records.
When the hearing resumed at 12.30 p.m. and counsel was pleading for his exemption from court appearance, Mr. Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, walked into the court, carrying with him some medical reports.
Pleading for bail on compassionate grounds, Mr. Singh said: “One-and-half years ago, I had a kidney transplanted. Because it is a foreign element, my body builds resistance to the new kidney. At times, I get infections because of the hazard of public life that I am in. Every three months, I have to go abroad for treatment.”
When the judge pointed out that the medical reports submitted did not show his medical history after September 2010, he said that as he “hurried” to the court after seeing TV channel news tickers claiming that he had “evaded” court appearance, he could not bring all the reports.
At this point, Mr. Hariharan interjected: “In spite of being sick, he has come to court. His conduct qualifies him for interim bail.”
Mr. Singh told the court that his children were small and needed his presence. The Delhi Police did not allege that he would “flee the country, tamper with evidence or coerce witnesses.”
“Madam, I am not guilty. Please ask any doctor in the country on the complications arising from my condition…at least for sake of my small children,” he said.
Ms. Sehgal said the court had to follow set procedures. “Let your counsel file an interim bail application now. The prosecution is directed to respond to the application on September 8 at 2 p.m.”
The court also remanded the former BJP MPs, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, in judicial custody. They appeared in court, responding to the summons.
BJP leader L.K. Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who has also been charge-sheeted, sought exemption from personal appearance until September 19, as he was reportedly abroad.