A Delhi court ordered the arrest of senior BJP leader LK Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and sent him to Tihar jail on Tuesday after he made his maiden court appearance in the July 2008 cash-for-votes scam case.
Special judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal tuned down Kulkarni’s plea for interim bail, saying it was “devoid of merit”. The court will hear his regular bail plea on Saturday.
The Delhi Police chargesheet alleged that Kulkarni “masterminded” the conspiracy to bribe three BJP MPs with R1 crore each to vote for the UPA-1 government during a confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.
Kulkarni told reporters later, “My role in the entire matter was that of a whistle-blower. Along with my associates, three BJP MPs and Suhail Hindustani, I attempted to expose the purchase of MPs for securing victory in the confidence vote by the then government in the Lok Sabha.”
Coming out in Kulkarni’s defence, the BJP demanded to know why “those who benefited” from the scandal had not even been questioned.
“There cannot be a charge of entrapment against whistle-blowers when there is a charge of bribe-giving against others,” said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
He was referring to former SP leader Amar Singh who is an accused in the case and has been charged with providing the money paid to the three BJP MPs.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the court order vindicated his party’s stand on the issue. “The court has proved that the BJP was involved in destablising a duly elected government.”
The scandal dates back to July 22, 2008 when a stunned nation saw TV pictures of BJP MPs Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora displaying wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha, alleging they had been offered bribes of R1 crore each to vote for the government during the confidence motion after the Left parties withdrew outside support over the India-US nuclear deal.