Senior BJP leader LK Advani again dared the UPA government to arrest him for the cash-for-vote scam, while BJP chief Nitin Gadkari met Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and two former party MPs at Tihar Jail on Monday.
Gadkari later said, "When the BJP gets an opportunity, the corrupt people will be exposed and we will send them to Tihar."
Former BJP MPs Mahavir Bhagora and Faggan Singh Kulaste were arrested along with Kulkarni in the case related to alleged attempt to bribe MPs ahead of July 22, 2008 trust vote in Lok Sabha.
Advani, who was addressing an anti-corruption rally in Mangalore, said, "I am surprised to see that this government has put whistleblowers behind bars.… You have put those who are protecting the democracy, behind bars."
He said, "If they are guilty, then so am I. I was their leader, and if I wanted I would have told them not to go ahead, and they wouldn't have. But they did it, because I said it was right. I still say, leave them and arrest me."
Advani had announced his Jan Chetna Yatra on September 8 after the former MPs were arrested and had dared the government to arrest him.
In Delhi, Gadkari said it was beyond his comprehension as to why they were not being granted bail despite being chargesheeted in the case.
Claiming some Congress leaders had hatched the plan to save the government, Gadkari said, "Our leader Sudheendra Kulkarni can prove that Congress general secretary Ahmed Patel and other Congress leaders were involved in purchasing the MPs and gave their consent to the plan. Today, they are walking free and innocent people have been arrested."
He also lashed out at the CBI, saying it had lost its credibility and should open its office in the Congress headquarters. "CBI is Congress Bureau of Investigation. They are the ones who have changed affidavit twice against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati in SC.”
‘We just exposed the government’
Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former aide of BJP leader LK Advani and two former BJP MPS jailed in the cash-for-vote scam on Monday sought bail from Delhi high court.
They said they were mere “whistle blowers aiming to expose the government ” in the whole episode and should not have been harassed in this manner. Justice ML Mehta sought response of Delhi Police by November 14 on the plea filed by Kulkarni, ex-BJP MPs Faggan Kulaste, Mahabir Bhagora and alleged BJP activist Suhail Hindustani. Kulkarni has challenged the trial court's order, which rejected his bail plea saying he was the "guiding star" of the conspiracy aimed at “mocking the Republic of India”.
Harish V Nair