The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the Delhi Police for its “half-hearted, meaningless and hopeless” investigation into the cash-for-vote scam and directed it to trace the source of the money and book the culprits.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha, after perusing the status report of the police, told Additional Solicitor-General (ASG) Harin Raval: “Your second report is as meaningless or hopeless as the first report.”
The Bench was hearing 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 as revealed by the WikiLeaks and published in The Hindu.
On July 22, 2008, three BJP members displayed wads of currency, in all Rs. 1 crore, in the Lok Sabha alleging that they were given the money by the UPA floor managers to secure their support during a trust motion moved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Justice Alam, expressing concern over the manner in which the probe was being conducted, told the ASG that the Delhi Police was capable of conducting the probe as good as any other agency, if not better, “but it seemed to be having some inhibitions in this case. Since the probe was initiated at the instance of this court, the police should drop the inhibition and conduct the investigation in the true spirit of law.”
Justice Alam observed: “The investigations had so far been half-hearted. Why don't you take it to a logical conclusion? The status report merely talked of circumstantial evidence against someone and the needle of suspicion pointing to two persons.”
Poser to ASG
Justice Lodha asked the ASG: “What are you doing regarding these inferences? It is distressing that middlemen of the cheapest kind tried to manipulate Parliament proceedings. To some extent, they have succeeded. You must find out what is the source of the money. You failed to achieve anything substantial in the case for two years and got activated only after the apex court orders.”
Initially, the ASG sought a further 40 days' time for filing another status report with greater details, but later said it would be submitted in three weeks.
So far the police had questioned the former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, his alleged aide Sanjeev Saxena, and Suhail Hindustani, who reportedly liaised between the SP leader and BJP MPs. It also interrogated SP MP Rewati Raman Singh and BJP MP Ashok Argal.
It virtually gave the Congress and the SP a clean chit during a hearing in the trial court here.