The former general secretary of the Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh; the former aide of the Bharatiya Janata Party's senior leader L. K. Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni; and two former BJP MPs on Thursday were issued summons to appear before a court here on September 6 in connection with the cash-for-votes scandal in which they have been charge sheeted.
Special Judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal also issued production warrants against Mr. Singh's former aide Sanjeev Saxena and another accused, Sohail Hindustani, who were arrested earlier and now lodged in the Tihar Central Jail. Ms. Sehgal also took cognisance of all the offences mentioned in the charge sheet.
Issuing the summons to Mr. Singh, Mr. Kulkarni, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahaveer Singh Bhagora, Judge Sehgal said, “Was there any special reason for not arresting them?”
Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, appearing for the Delhi Police Crime Branch, said the four were not arrested as their custodial interrogation was not required.
Mr. Saxena's bail plea was adjourned to September 6 after his counsel Santosh Pandey said he wanted to wait until the police presented a status report on its probe in the Supreme Court on September 2.
Mr. Hindustani's bail plea was adjourned to Friday after his counsel Anand said he wanted more time to study the charge sheet.
The prosecution also told the judge that a supplementary charge sheet would be filed against sitting BJP MP Ashok Argal after getting requisite sanction from the Lok Sabha Speaker.
The 80-page charge sheet said that on July 21, 2008, a day before the three BJP MPs waved wads of cash amounting to Rs.1 crore in Parliament, Mr. Kulkarni held a meeting with the three MPs and Mr. Hindustani at his New Delhi residence. They “hatched a criminal conspiracy to contact, solicit, and entrap leaders of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party by projecting the names of the three BJP MPs as vulnerable MPs” whose votes during the motion of confidence could be influenced on the basis of monetary considerations.
“Sohail Hindustani was the initiator of the move and Sudheendra Kulkarni mastermind of the operation.”
The charge sheet also alleged that BJP leader Arun Jaitley told Mr. Kulkarni that a reporter from a news channel would contact him for a sting operation. However, the police said it had no evidence against the four-member team of the channel that they “played any role in any inducement, attempt, delivery or receipt of illegal gratification”.
On Mr. Singh, the police said he “hatched a criminal conspiracy with Sanjeev Saxena to deliver an advance of Rs.1 crore to the three BJP MPs” at Mr. Argal's residence.
The police also said Mr. Singh's contention that Mr. Saxena was the aide of another MP and visited him only occasionally was rejected by the Crime Branch, which seized a letter written by Mr. Singh on his official letterhead regarding Mr. Saxena's son's admission to a Delhi college where he mentions Mr. Saxena as his secretary. The son's admission form also listed Mr. Singh's residence as Mr. Saxena's official address.