The Delhi Police told a sessions court here on Thursday that Sohail Hindustani was the “orchestrator” who attempted to contact various politically connected persons to strike a deal for three BJP MPs to vote for the Congress for “monetary considerations” during the vote of confidence in Parliament in July 2008.
“During the investigation, it has come on record that no Congress or Samajwadi Party leader made any effort to contact Sohail Hindustani to strike a deal for MPs. Rather,…it was Sohail Hindustani who was making attempts/efforts to contact various persons to strike a deal for monetary consideration in the name of three BJP MPs,” said the application filed by the Crime Branch, seeking police custody for two days of Hindustani and Sanjeev Saxena, who was arrested on July 17.
Observing that the FIR in the cash-for-votes scam was registered in January 2009 and that the police sat over the case for nearly three years despite a parliamentary committee inquiry having produced a large number of documents, defence counsel wondered how the police could make such a conclusive finding within a day of arresting Hindustani.
Additional Sessions Judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal allowed just one-day custody of the two accused after vehement protests from defence counsel, who tore into the prosecution's case, even as Hindustani, unfazed by the grave charges against him, maintained a smiling countenance all through the hearing.
Defence counsel Anand, appearing for Hindustani, asked prosecution to explain why his client had been arrested and charged under Section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which deals with abetment to bribing of public servants, while no public servant or the main conspirator involved had been arrested.
To this, the public prosecutor responded: “He is the main conspirator.”
“How can he be? You are charging him with abetment to offence,” Mr. Anand retorted.
“He's a whistleblower”
Claiming that Hindustani was just a whistleblower, counsel said: “Don't catch the whistleblower, catch the culprit…They [the police] want to have a disclosure statement from my client and change the course of the investigation. The ultimate cause of the action [the cash-for-vote scam] was to save the government which was not in majority at that time [July 22, 2008].”
Defence counsel also reminded the police that the Supreme Court, in its order, had directed that a fair investigation be done. When prosecution asked defence to produce that order, Ms. Sehgal remarked: “Does the police require a Supreme Court order to do a fair investigation?”
The police version is that Hindustani approached S.P. Gupta, a former IAS officer, offering him three BJP MPs and “requested him to talk to some senior Congress leaders to strike a deal for a monetary consideration to influence the voting of BJP MPs to suit the interests of the Congress.”
The police alleged that Hindustani also approached veteran Congress leader Buta Singh's son Arvinder Singh with a similar offer, which was reportedly rebuffed. Following his “failing to get any success to strike a deal with the Congress,” Hindustani “diverted his efforts to entrap leaders of the Samajwadi Party,” and with this purpose, he contacted its leader Rewati Raman Singh.