Cash-for-votes scam accused Sanjeev Saxena was remanded in three-day police custody by a court here on Monday.
The scam rocked Parliament on July 22, 2008 during the debate on a crucial vote of confidence sought by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. Three BJP MPs waved wads of currency notes amid charges of vote-buying.
Surprisingly, Mr. Saxena — who allegedly worked as the former Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh's secretary when the scam took place — was not represented by an advocate, forcing Special Judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal to request for the services of a Legal Aid Counsel.
In their remand application, the Delhi Police alluded to the allegations made by the former BJP member of the 14th Lok Sabha, Faggan Singh Kulaste, that “Amar Singh introduced Sanjeev Saxena to him and BJP MP Ashok Argal as his secretary on July 22, 2008.”
Police said that during investigation, sufficient evidence pointed to Mr. Saxena delivering Rs.1 crore to the three BJP MPs. But he “was giving contradictory statements to mislead the investigation.”
Police alleged that Mr. Saxena also made “misleading statements” during the inquiry by the Parliamentary Committee.
“In view of misleading statements, his arrest and [the] need for sustained custodial interrogation became necessary” to unearth a “deep-rooted conspiracy,” the Crime Branch said.
Police told Ms. Sehgal that the interrogation of Mr. Saxena would focus on: discovering the source of the money; uncovering the whereabouts of Mr. Amar Singh's driver, Sanjay, who was named by the MPs as having accompanied Mr. Saxena when he went to deliver the cash; and recovering a mobile phone used by Mr. Saxena to facilitate conversation between the three BJP MPs and Mr. Amar Singh after the money was delivered.
The statements of the two former BJP MPs, Mahavir Bhagora and Mr. Kulaste, were recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The police said they are yet to record Mr. Argal's statement as he is a sitting MP.
Reprimanded by the Supreme Court last week on the tardy pace of investigation, the Crime Branch moved quickly to arrest Mr. Saxena on Sunday.