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Updated: September 2, 2011 15:43 IST

Court seeks status report on probe into cash-for-vote

J. Venkatesan
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BJP MPs show packets of money in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi in this July 2008 picture. The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Delhi police to submit the status report on the probe. File photo
PTI BJP MPs show packets of money in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi in this July 2008 picture. The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Delhi police to submit the status report on the probe. File photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to file a status report on the investigation into the First Information Report registered in connection with the ‘cash for votes' scam of July 2008.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha had in May issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition filed by the former Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh, and 13 others, under the banner of the India Rejuvenation Initiative for a direction to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the scam in Parliament as revealed by the WikiLeaks, published in The Hindu.

‘2 months, a long time'

During the resumed hearing, Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam said the FIR had been lodged and the status report would be filed in two months. But Justice Alam told him: “Two months is a long time. Tell us about the present status of the probe. You file a report by July 15.”

The Bench posted the matter for further hearing that day. The Solicitor-General assured the court that it would be filed in a sealed cover.

The petitioners, who included Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy (retd) and Julio Ribeiro, former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, and former DGP of Punjab, said that on March 23 there was a furore in Parliament following the publication of the WikiLeaks cable in The Hindu, exposing the scam.

Quoting the interview with Julian Assange of the WikiLeaks, published in The Hindu, that this information could be used as corroborative evidence, the petitioners said that unless an independent probe was conducted a fair investigation would not be possible.

“The cash-for-vote incident showed the desperate depths to which certain political functionaries and parties stooped to ensure victory on the floor of the House, and these exposures represent both a gross moral degeneration and crass political opportunism of the government and degraded and disgraced our sacrosanct traditions of parliamentary democracy.”

No progress

Even after a prima facie case of bribery was established and a parliamentary panel itself recommended further probe by an investigating agency, the government did little to establish the criminal culpability of those whose names had been in the public domain as principal actors in this sordid drama, the petitioners said. Though the FIR was registered by the Delhi Police on January 27, 2009, till date no action was taken in spite of the fact that the parliamentary committee had given a report against errant politicians.

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