The special court hearing the cash-for-votes scam case on Friday rejected the bail applications of the former Bharatiya Janta Party advisor, Sudheendra Kulkarni, and the former BJP Lok Sabha MPs, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora.
Writing the order on Mr. Kulkarni's application, Special Judge Sangita Dingra Sehgal said: “It appears that Kulkarni played an active role as a mastermind of the entire criminal conspiracy, who advised all and made all arrangements. He was the guiding star and laid the path of action.”
Stating that Mr. Kulkarni had taken the law into his own hands and facilitated the commission of the alleged offence by not informing any law-enforcing agency, the judge said: “He remained in contact with other conspirators from time to time and was present at the spot when the bribe money was actually delivered.”
The court also dismissed the accused politicians' submissions that they were whistleblowers in the case. It observed that despite “ample opportunities” they had not informed any law-enforcing agency about the Rs.1 crore bribe given to them by co-accused Sanjeev Saxena nor had they attempted to detain him.
The court said the various witness statements, audio-video recordings of the sting operation conducted by a private news channel and other circumstantial evidence on record, were “sufficient enough to come to the conclusion” that there was a prima facie case against the accused.
On Mr. Kulaste's application, the Judge noted that the accused was an MP — a “representative of the people of the country who held a significant and responsible” position. “The allegations that the accused was part of a criminal conspiracy and accepted illegal gratification and made efforts to subvert constitutional and parliamentary norms can not be overlooked.”