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Cops to quiz whistle-blowers in cash-for-vote scam

July 19, 2011 18:39 IST

More trouble is lurking for former Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh. After his alleged former secretary, Sanjeev Saxena, was arrested by the Delhi police, police are training their guns on several 'whistle-blowers' in the case.

Under pressure from the Supreme Court, which, last week had reprimanded the Delhi Crime Branch on the shoddy pace of investigation into the cash-for-vote scandal, the police is all set to question Sohail Hindustani.

Highly placed sources in the Delhi police told that Hindustani, the purported whistle-blower of the 2008 scam and a small time Bharatiya Janata Party worker, has been summoned to the office of the Crime Branch on Wednesday.

Hindustani had shot to fame after he became a part of CNN-IBN's sting operation in July, 2008, which suggested that leaders Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel offered money to BJP MPs for voting for the United Progressive Alliance's during a trust vote.

Hindustani told, "Yes, it is true. They have summoned me for interrogation. The truth will finally prevail. They have been sitting on a case for almost three years. I hope this time they see the case to its logical end."

Police sources said that they would jointly interrogate Hindustani, Saxena and Sudheendra Kulkarni, the former advisor of BJP leader L K Advani. Kulkarni, who is a BJP worker and a media columnist, had reportedly coordinated with Hindustani to conduct the CNN-IBN sting.

Talking about investigations into the case, a senior crime branch official said, "Amar Singh's driver, only known as Sanjay, is absconding. It was Sanjay who drove accused Sanjeev Saxena with the bag of cash to the house of the third MP, Ashok Argal. We are trying to ascertain his whereabouts and a team have been dispatched to his hometown."

Hindustani said that Sanjay has long disappeared.

"I doubt if he is even in the country. When his face was clear as day in the sting we conducted, the police should have arrested him then and there. But they sat on it for three years and now say he is absconding. Of course he is absconding. He is Amar Singh's driver and knows many truths associated with him," Hindustani claimed.

The Delhi police have also sought help from the Union home ministry to question Amar Singh and BJP MP Ashok Argal as part of its investigation into the scandal. Saxena reportedly told the police that it was on Singh's behalf that he offered the bribes to MPs. Argal had reportedly offered the money to MPs. Since they are sitting MPs, the police need to take permission from the Lok Sabha Speaker to question them.

Ex-BJP MPs Mahavir Singh Bhagora and Fagan Singh Kulaste have already been questioned.

"After the forensic report, which came in January this year, indicated that the CD of the sting operation was genuine, we sent a team to Bhopal and Udaipur to take the statements of Bhagora and Kulaste. After they told us that Saxena was the one who offered them money, we arrested him," a senior police official said. 

Police sources also said that through their questioning, they ultimately wanted to find out the trail the Rs 1 crore that ultimately made its way to Parliament.

"We have several leads into the origin of the money. A large part of the amount has been traced to Gurgaon, Lucknow and Mysore. We will continue our questioning till we ascertain the money trail," a senior police official said.

After the scam had come to the fore in 2008, the government had constituted a Parliamentary Committee under Kishore Chandra Deo to look into the matter. After the committee came out with its report, the investigations were handed to the Crime Branch of the Delhi police, which registered a case against Sanjeev Saxena, Sohail Hindustani and Sudheendra Kulkarni under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sahim Salim in New Delhi