The controversial sting operation on the cash-for-vote scandal in the Lok Sabha, aired by CNN-IBN channel on Monday night, shows Samajwadi Party MP Reoti Raman Singh trying to persuade the three BJP MPs to accompany him to an undisclosed destination for “negotiations”.
The tapes also show large wads of currency notes being handed to the BJP MPs by a person claiming to represent a senior SP leader.
There is, however, no direct mention of any senior SP or Congress leader in the tapes, which have poor audio at places.
The recording at the residence of BJP MP Ashok Argal on the night of July 21, shows his colleagues Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora in detailed discussions with Reoti Raman Singh.
Kulaste and Argal were clearly visible in the frames along with the SP MP but Bhagora was not, though his voice was audible. The footage shows that Singh was unhappy after failing to persuade the MPs to accompany him. "What is there to be so worried about? Come with me and it will be over in 10 minutes. I won't talk on the phone. It would have to be face-to-face," he is heard saying.
In his defence, Singh denied having been involved in any deal to bribe the MPs. CNN-IBN quoted him as saying that "the three BJP MPs wanted to join the SP".
In the next part of the recording done on the morning of July 22, the day of the trust vote, a person named Sanjeev Saxena is shown handing over large bundles of currency notes to the three MPs at Argal's residence.
Saxena has been captured on camera dialling the number of "Singh ji" from his mobile. "Singh ji" was the person on whose behalf Saxena claimed to be working, but the full name did not figure in the tapes.
The BJP however said there was enough evidence to prove the involvement of SP general secretary Amar Singh in trying to engineer defections. “Sanjeev Saxena was working for Amar Singh till July 20. How can this fact be denied?” party leader Arun Jaitley asked.
Amar Singh completely denied any involvement in the episode. "I did not meet any of these three BJP MPs. My residence is a public place, and the world would have come to know had I met these people," he said.
CNN-IBN telecast the tapes after its representatives appeared before the parliamentary panel probing the matter on Monday.
“The time has come to take the nation and viewers into confidence. We have fulfilled our professional commitment,” editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai said.