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Cash for vote: BJP MPs change their tune

August 07, 2008 16:37 IST

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Two of the three Bharatiya Janata Party members of Parliament, who shocked the Lok Sabha during the confidence vote by displaying bundles of currency notes, on Thursday alleged that the tapes regarding the sting operation have been tampered with.

Ashok Argal and Fagan Singh Kulaste, who appeared before the seven-member parliamentary committee examining the 'cash-for-vote' charge, interestingly made the charge to reporters but did not make it before the panel.

The two MPs, who deposed before the committee together, contended that their version was not recorded in the tapes.

Usually deponents appear before a parliamentary committee individually. But sources said they insisted on appearing together as they had also jointly signed the complaint to the committee. This demand was supported by BJP MP V K Malhotra and Communist Party of India-Marxist member Mohammed Salim, the sources said.

Another BJP MP, Mahavir Bhagora, who was also summoned, could not make it as he was indisposed.

During the two-and-half deposition, the committee asked the two MPs to substantiate their charge that money was given to them as bribes to abstain from the trust vote.

The two MPs demanded that all those connected with the scam should be called and inquired into so that truth could be brought out.

To a question whether they also demanded a CBI probe into the scam, they replied in the negative.

Chairman of the committee V Kishore Chandra Deo told reporters that the members did not level the charge of tampering of tapes during their deposition.

Deo said television channel CNN-IBN, which had conducted the sting operation, has been asked to send its representative on August 11.

Deo said the Committee would call whoever it felt necessary to be examined.

In their petition seeking a probe into the charge that an attempt was made to bribe them to get their support in the trust vote, the three MPs are believed to have named Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh [Images] and Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

Both members of the Rajya Sabha have denied the charge.

Deo said the Committee has so far received 11 tapes in all from Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images].

He also said the committee will summon Samajwadi Party MP Reoti Raman Singh at a later stage. Singh, who represents Allahabad constituency, is a member of the Lok Sabha unlike Amar Singh and Patel who are members of the Upper House.

Reoti Raman Singh has also been named by the three BJP MPs in their complaint.

Deo avoided a direct reply whether Amar Singh and Patel would be summoned by the committee. "We have not come to that stage," he said.

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