The Delhi Police have chargesheeted Sudheendra Kulkarni as the “mastermind” of the 2008 cash-for-vote scam. According to the police, Kulkarni turned towards Samajwadi Party leaders in a bid to influence the vote of confidence in the UPA-I government after he failed to make inroads in the Congress camp.
The police have described him as the “masterminded”, who hatched the conspiracy to bribe Members of Parliament (MPs) and “directed” co-accused Suhail Hindustani to divert his efforts towards Samajwadi Party leaders who met the BJP MPs ahead of the voting on confidence motion in Lok Sabha.
The police alleged that once the MPs had agreed to accept the cash, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh along with his aide Sanjeev Saxena arranged the money which was later handed over to the MPs.
The Delhi Police said Kulkarni swung into action after Hindustani told him about the “vulnerability” of three erstwhile BJP MPs—Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora—and held a meeting with them on July 21, 2008 at his 17, B R Mehta Lane residence. The prosecution alleged Kulkarni colluded with Hindustani to pay off R1 crore bribe each to the three MPs.
In the monsoon session of the parliament, BJP leader L K Advani had vehemently claimed that he authorised the sting operation for the scam, so that corruption could be exposed inside the UPA I.
Kulkarni has been chargesheeted under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The police have alleged in its chargesheet that they have enough evidence against Kulkarni, who hatched the conspiracy for the scam. Opposing his interim bail plea on Tuesday, public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said it should be decided on merits only. Mohan claimed the whole conspiracy started when co-accused Sohail Hindustani contacted Kulkarni for the first time.