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Probe widens, Amar Singh and Kulkarni to be questioned

delhi Updated: Jul 20, 2011 22:25 IST

Probe into the cash-for-votes scam gathered momentum on Wednesday with Delhi Police arresting an alleged middleman and was set to question three MPs, including Amar Singh, who is accused of sending bribe money to win over three BJP lawmakers during 2008 trust vote.

Suhail Hindustani, who allegedly acted as a liaison between Amar Singh and BJP MPs, was arrested under Prevention of Corruption Act after seven hours of grilling by the Crime Branch about his role in the sensational case.

Police had summoned Hindustani for questioning today after it arrested Sanjeev Saxena, once considered close to Singh, for allegedly delivering cash to three BJP MPs.

Before appearing for questioning, Hindustani sought to drag Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the cash-for-vote scam by saying he had got calls from people close to them.

"I received calls from Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel (political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi). Those close to Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) called me and even from 10-Janpath (Gandhi's residence)," claimed Hindustani to reporters before being questioned. He, however, did not not identify all those who allegedly called him.

The probe by Delhi Police, which was slammed by Supreme Court last week for its "callous" approach in this case, is set to be expanded with Amar Singh expected to be questioned within two-three days, sources said.

Besides Amar Singh, police would also question Samajwadi Party MP Reoti Raman Singh and BJP MP Ashok Argal.

Questioning of BJP leader LK Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who allegedly was behind sting operation to trap the bribe-givers, is also likely to take place.

Two other former MPs Mahavir Bhagora and Fagan Singh Kulaste, who were sought to be bribed, have already been questioned. Police is also examining call records of various alleged players in the case during that period and seeking forensic help.

Before entering the police complex, Hindustani said he would tell police whatever he had told the Parliamentary Committee which probed the cash-for-vote scam.

Asked what he had told the Committee, he alleged that Amar Singh told him that he was working on Prime Minister's directions along with Ahmed Patel to save the government.

"People could not believe that Manmohan Singh and Congress party could stoop to this level to save the government," he said, alleging that the operation was done by Amar Singh and some Congress leaders.

He said police should examine his call records, which he claimed would throw light on who all who called him between July nine and 22 of 2008.

"I challenge them. These people tried to bribe me. They asked me why are you aligned with BJP? Is your life going haywire? Come, align with us and we will give you some big posts like chairmanship. They told me that if you get one MP, we will give you Rs 5-10 crore as commission," he claimed.

Delhi Police has also sought the views and directions of home ministry with regard to questioning Amar Singh and Argal. Meanwhile, police commissioner BK Gupta met senior home ministry officials.

Rajya Sabha secretariat said there was no need for its permission to question Singh, a member of the upper house.

Rajya Sabha secretary general VK Agnihotri told PTI, "no permission for interrogation of Amar Singh has been sought from the chairman of Rajya Sabha (Hamid Ansari). So the question of giving permission does not arise."