Three BJP MPs — Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora — filed a written complaint with the Lok Sabha Speaker, listing a sequence of events to show how they were bribed and why they emptied a bag of Rs 1 crore worth of currency notes in the House on July 22 — the day the UPA won the trust vote.
However, parliamentary sources did not rule the possibility of the MPs — who say they acted as whistle blowers — from facing action for having brought money into the House without the Speaker’s permission and “lowering the dignity of the House.”
This is a peculiar case, the sources said, since the MPs who could claim their privileges have been breached, could themselves face accusation of “breaching the privileges of the House”. Samajwadi Party MP Mohan Singh has already moved the Speaker seeking action against the MPs who had accused SP leader Amar Singh of being behind the bid to bribe them
In fact, the BJP dropped plans to have a screening of some footage of the sting amid speculation that action could be initiated against the MPs for bringing money to the House without the Speaker’s permission. However, in deference to the wishes of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who observed his 79th birthday, the BJP MPs refrained from releasing their complaint to the media till he had actually had seen it.
BJP leader V.K. Malhotra said, “Today, being his 79th birthday, the Speaker could not come to Parliament House where the three MPs filed their complaint. The Speaker wanted to see the complaint before we release it. So we decide to abide by his wish.”
The BJP saw two options before him: to hand over the matter to the House’s Privileges Committee or send it to a committee that has been acting as the Ethics Committee. Malhotra said the MPs reserved the right to file a police complaint while other party leaders said they feared that Delhi Police could be influenced by the Centre to summarily close the investigation, thereby preventing further examination by the Speaker or a committee appointed by him. Malhotra said all details had been given, including how Samajwadi Party leaders allegedly contacted the MPs who reserved their right to file a complaint with the police later.