Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Amar Singh kicked up a political controversy on Thursday by parading a “Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) worker” before the media contingent — describing him as the one who had demanded a bribe of Rs 5 crore for “saving his reputation” by making a favourable statement before the parliamentary panel investigating the July 22 cash-for-votes scam.
The BSP worker, Hashmat Ali, was picked up by the Delhi Police from Singh’s residence, even as he kept shouting: “I am being kidnapped”. The crime branch of the Delhi Police said that Ali was under detention and being questioned. Ali — the driver of the car that ferried individuals who acted as go-betweens in the scam — was scheduled to appear before the V Kishore Chandra Deo-headed parliamentary panel this afternoon, but failed to turn up.
Singh also hit out sternly against Home Minister Shivraj Patil for not taking immediate steps to have Ali arrested and said he would articulate his grouse at the next meeting of the SP-Congress coordination committee.
As soon as Ali called on him at his residence at 8.30 am and put up the cash demand, he called up Patil and demanded his intervention, Singh said. Patil reportedly told Singh to lodge the police complaint, as it would otherwise appear that the Congress was involved in some way.
“If this is the treatment that Amar Singh gets, one can well imagine the plight of the common man,” Singh said.
Congress hits back
The Congress reacted sharply to SP leader Amar Singh’s outburst against Home Minister Shivraj Patil, urging its newfound ally to show sobriety and restraint. Referring to Singh’s charge that the Home Minister had refused to respond to his call for help when a BSP worker had tried to blackmail him, Singhvi said that if the SP leader, or for that matter anyone, had any complaint or grievance, he can send it to the parliamentary committee probing the issue.