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Probe into cash for votes to be completed shortly: PC

delhi Updated: Mar 23, 2011 22:13 IST

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Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said the investigation by Delhi Police into allegations of cash-for-votes during trust vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008 is in progress and will be completed shortly.

"Investigation is in progress and will be completed shortly," said Chidambaram, while participating in a short-term discussion on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's statement over the latest WikiLeaks cable disclosures on the cash-for-votes scandal.

The Home Minister further said allegations that a political party ''engineered and manufactured'' the sting operation would also be probed.

"Revelations have come that the sting operation by a television channel was not an independent journalistic exercise but a deliberate attempt in collaboration with a political party," said Chidambaram, and emphasized that the investigation into the matter would be thorough.

"This was deliberate attempt to destabilise a sitting government. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government enjoys the total confidence of the people "whatever sting operations (are done), whatever engineered.

Speaking during the discussion, he also set aside the argument of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the UPA Government did not enjoy the confidence of the Lok Sabha and was reduced to a minority.

Despite a mounting attack by the BJP-led Opposition, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, reiterated his earlier stand, while speaking over the cash-for-votes scandal in the Lok Sabha today.

Dr. Singh described the approach of the Opposition as undemocratic and said BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani believes being Prime Minister was his birthright.

"The attitude of the Opposition is undemocratic. Lal Krishna Advani believes being the Prime Minister is his birthright. Further investigation of the scam is in progress. The probe committee report on cash-for-votes scam is inconclusive," Dr. Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

"The government cannot verify context or veracity of the US cables. We should not go by what some embassy official writes about us. We were not involved in any illegal act nor had we authorised anybody to indulge in any bribe given during the 2008 confidence vote," he added.

Further quoting from the KC Deo Report, Dr Singh said, "The Committee after taking into account their findings and conclusions in the matter [as detailed in para 141 particularly at (xiv) to (xvii) relating to the roles of Shri Sanjeev Saxena, Shri Suhail Hindustani and Shri Sudheendra Kulkarni], recommend that this matter may be probed further by an appropriate investigating agency."

The BJP-led Opposition had earlier today criticized Dr. Singh over the latest WikiLeaks cable disclosures on the cash-for-votes scandal.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj criticizing the Prime Minister for his statement over the issue, demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the exposure.

"The PM is accountable...he can''t keep putting blame on others. Calling cables unverifiable is equal to avoiding the truth. It is the habit of the Prime Minister to blame others. If it is price rise then (Agriculture Minister) Sharad Pawar is responsible, if it is 2G then (former Telecom Minister) A Raja is responsible and if it is Commonwealth Games then (Suresh) Kalmadi is to blame," said Sushma Swaraj.

"I don''t know anything, I am not aware of anything, there are coalition compulsions and I am not that much guilty as I am made out to be'' ...the people are fed up with such excuses. They are asking why you are the Prime Minister," she added, while participating in a discussion.

Meanwhile, senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta accused the Prime Minister of resorting to ''parliamentary piracy'' to win the vote of confidence in 2008.

"The report of a Parliamentary panel on the scam had clearly recommended "investigation by an appropriate agency" into the alleged attempts to purchase votes to win the trust vote on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal," he said and demanded that Dr. Singh should come out clean.

Dr. Singh had claimed last week that Members of Parliament were not bribed during the July 2008 trust vote.