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Bribe money allegations rock Lok Sabha

July 22, 2008 16:22 IST
Last Updated: July 22, 2008 18:18 IST

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The Lok Sabha witnessed high drama when a Bharatiya Janata Party member shocked the House by walking into the well with a bag full of currency notes, which he claimed was given by a Samajwadi Party leader in return for his support in the trust vote.

Amidst a flutter, Deputy Speaker Charanjit Atwal adjourned the House briefly, leaving members surcharged.

Trouble broke out when Ashok Argal, a BJP member from Morena and some others took out wads after wads of currency notes to substantiate their claim that horsetrading had taken place and heavy cash was used to "purchase" MPs for the trial of strength.

Looking at the press gallery, the BJP members alleged that an SP leader promised three of them Rs 3 crores each, of which Rs 1 crore was paid in advance.

Meanwhile, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee met leaders of political parties on allegations of MPs being bribed for the trust vote.

Leader of the Oppposition Advani claimed that the three BJP MPs -- Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bagora -- were offered Rs 3 crore each and were handed over Rs 1 crore each in advance.

Terming the incident as a breach of privilege, Advani said the MPs were given the money for abstaining from voting during the trust vote.

"In my own whole life I have not come across such a sad event. We had received information yesterday and today. This is shameful," he said.

Advani noted that he had hinted about horse-trading in his speech on Monday while some Left members openly spoke about such things in the House.

He said three BJP MPs came to him on Monday saying they were offered Rs 3 crore each for "only abstaining" during the voting. "Rs 1 crore was given in advance and the rest was to be given later," he claimed.

"They asked me whether they can produce the money in the House. I said it is normally not allowed. But the kind of scandal it is I thought the House will at least be adjourned," he said.

"But as the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha scandal, it is not a small thing and it is related to Parliament. It is a case of corruption. Whoever had given, whoever tells them to abstain, this is the breach of privilege," Advani said.

He said the incident should be taken "very seriously".

Advani also said he would not name anyone and "I would let them name themselves."

Meanwhile, BJP president Rajnath Singh demanded the resignation of Dr Singh following allegations by three of his party MPs that they were offered money by a Samajwadi Party leader to abstain from voting.

"After this incident, the PM has no right to continue in the chair, he should resign," Rajnath Singh said referring to the incident in which a BJP MP displayed wads of notes before the Lok Sabha claiming that it was offered by a SP leader to abstain from voting.

The BJP has been saying that Congress and its allies have been pressurising its MPs to either vote for the UPA government or abstain from voting, Rajnath Singh said.

"This is shameful and unfortunate in the history of Parliament. This has happened for the first time in the history of Independent India. Congress has sullied the image of the country in the world with this act," said Rajnath Singh.

While saying that the trust vote should continue, Rajnath Singh hurriedly added that the speaker should examine the tapes of the sting operation carried out by a TV channel.

Rajnath Singh, however, refused to comment on a query on whether the entire thing was doctored or planted.

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