The former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, and 13 others, under the banner of the India Rejuvenation Initiative, moved the Supreme Court on Monday for a direction to the Centre to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the ‘cash-for-votes-scam' in Parliament as revealed in the WikiLeaks cables published in The Hindu.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha deferred hearing on the writ petition after pointing out to senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, who was appearing for the petitioners, that the copy of the FIR said to have been registered had not been brought on record. The Bench granted two weeks for the petitioners to produce the same and adjourned the hearing till then.
The petitioners, including Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy (retired) and Julio Ribeiro, former Commissioner of Police, Punjab and Mumbai, said that on March 23 there was a furore in Parliament following the publication of the WikiLeaks exposé.
Quoting the interview of WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange that was published in The Hindu, in which he had said that these pieces of information could be used as corroborative evidence, the petitioners said that unless the probe was conducted through an independent arrangement, a fair investigation was not possible.
‘The cash for votes' incident showed, they said, the depths to which certain political functionaries and parties stooped in order to ensure victory on the floor of the House in July 2008. They said the scam represented both a “gross moral degeneration and the crass political opportunism of the government,” which had “degraded and disgraced our sacrosanct traditions of parliamentary democracy.”
They said that after a prima facie case of bribery was established and a parliamentary panel had recommended further probe by an investigating agency, the government had done little to establish the culpability of those whose names had been in the public domain as principal actors in the affair.
No action taken
The petitioners said an FIR was registered by the Delhi Police on January 27, 2009, but no action had been taken, till date, in spite of the fact that the parliamentary committee had given a report against errant politicians.