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Cash-for-vote scam probe shoddy: court

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Police for its shoddy probe into the July 2008 cash-for-vote scam in Parliament.

After perusing a status report submitted on behalf of the police, Justice Aftab Alam told Additional Solicitor-General Harin P. Raval: “We are not satisfied with the status report. We are not happy at all with the probe done by the Delhi Police. Except narrating the Section 161 Cr.PC statements, you [police] have not given any progress in the enquiry. The statements of MPs are yet to be recorded though two years have gone by. This is not the way to probe the offence of such a serious nature. What sort of investigation is this?”

Justice R.M. Lodha told the ASG: “We are not bothered whether you are doing investigation in a particular direction or not. It is not moving in the pace as it should be. The investigation must be brought to its logical conclusion.”

Justice Alam, pointing out holes in the probe, asked, “Is anyone in custody?” When Mr. Raval said the police needed more time to extensively search the money trail, the judge said: “This is not investigation. You are telling a story to the court on the basis of statements made by some people. You don't give us [particulars of] when these statements were recorded. Some of the stories are verifiably incorrect. What is your inference or conclusion, in which direction you are moving, nothing is stated.”

Justice Lodha, expressing his anguish, said: “Investigating agencies are so indifferent. This is not something very complex. [But] investigation has been done with callousness on the complaint filed by the Lok Sabha Secretary”

When the Bench sought a fresh status report, the ASG said he would file one in two weeks, indicating the dates on which statements were recorded; the inference and conclusions and the future course of action.

The Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by the former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, and 13 others, under the banner of the India Rejuvenation Initiative, for a direction to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the scam as revealed by the WikiLeaks and published in The Hindu .

On July 22, 2008, three BJP members displayed wads of currency, in all Rs. 1 crore, in the Lok Sabha alleging that they were given the money by the floor managers of the UPA to secure their support during a trust motion moved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the Left parties withdrew support to the government over the India-U.S. nuclear deal.

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