Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday referred the case of the three persons named in the cash-for-vote scam to the Home Ministry for “appropriate action”, a day after the report was tabled in the House.
The report has recommended that “appropriate investigating agencies” further probe the roles of Sanjeev Saxena (who had acted as a conduit) and whistle-blowers Sohail Hindustani and Sudheendra Kulkarni in the cash-for-vote scam.
The Speaker, however, did not mention them by name while reading out his two-page statement on the issue. But as soon as he finished speaking, BJP members, including Anant Kumar and Santosh Gangwar, protested that he not mentioned the dissenting notes given by their colleague V.K. Malhotra and CPM's Mohammad Salim. The report has given a clean chit to Rajya Sabha MPs Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel.
While waving wads of currency notes in the House on July 22, BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ashok Argal and Mahavir Bhagora had accused Singh and Patel of trying to bribe them to vote for the UPA government during the July 22 trust vote.
The question whether the three MPs had lowered Parliamentary dignity by waving the currency notes in the House instead of bringing them to the Speaker's notice in his Chambers is being looked into by the Privileges Committee.
After recalling the events of July 22 and his anguish over the unprecedented action of the three BJP MPs of waving wads of notes, the Speaker told the House that the currency notes are in the custody of the Secretary General. And if even after a month there is no request for it for purposes of investigation, it will be deposited with the government as unclaimed money.
Warning for media
There was a warning for the media in the Speaker’s observations, which said the House has the power to invoke its penal powers against incorrect reports or premature disclosure of evidence made before an inquiry panel. The inquiry committee had expressed “concern” that channels and newspaper reports had in August and October either projected factually incorrect report of the panel’s deliberations or were based on unsubstantiated and unauthorised sources.