The great Indian political sting operation — which began when three BJP MPs waved wads of notes in Parliament two weeks ago — appears to be losing much of its sting.
First the BJP MPs alleged they had been offered crores to vote for the government and then party rebel leader Uma Bharti alleged the BJP had stage-managed the drama.
On Monday, another sting surfaced, which carried forward Uma Bharti’s claim with a CD, only to be refuted by the BJP promptly.
Former Bihar foes Ram Vilas Paswan and Lalu Prasad Yadav came together for the first time in four years, and along with another UPA leader Mulyam Singh Yadav, released a CD to claim that the BJP did the cash-for-vote drama for political gains.
Contents of the new CD were not very different from the one released by Uma Bharti last week, which was later declared a hoax by TV channels. It had two “stings” — one of Sanjiv Saxena, an “aide” of Amar Singh, and another of BJP MP Faggan Singh Kulaste, one of the three who waved cash in the House, blaming the BJP.
That was enough to make Paswan, Lalu and Mulayam target BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, who on Sunday said there was fresh proof of Amar Singh’s involvement in trying to lure opposition MPs.
This “evidence”, submitted to a Lok Sabha panel probing the issue, included the transcript of the CNN-IBN sting and telephone records of Saxena who allegedly delivered Rs 1 crore cash to one of the BJP MPs. The UPA leaders backed Amar Singh's claim — that Saxena was not working for him, and that he was closer to rebel SP leader Shahid Siddiqui.
They accused Jaitley of "actually sending the money" to defame the UPA. They asked a bagful of questions including: Why was a forensic test of the notes not been done? Why did the MPs in question not take immediate action in having Saxena arrested?
Within hours, Jaitley launched his counter attack. "Today it has become clear that all these corroborative evidences (presented by the BJP on Sunday) have not been commented upon. They have not been denied because they cannot be denied. It is a contemporaneous evidence." Kulaste also denied he had made any remark to blame the BJP.
Jaitely said: "The son of Sanjiv Saxena has stated in his admission form to a college that his father has mentioned 27, Lodhi Estate (residence of Amar Singh) as his office address." The main issue, he said, was that who is Saxena and why he took the money to the BJP MPs. "The submitted transcripts explain and corroborate why he did so. We have more evidence to show Saxena was known to Amar Singh," he said.