The seven-member Lok Sabha committee probing the cash-for-vote scam has given a clean chit to Rajya Sabha MPs Ahmed Patel of the Congress and Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party.
This, however, came along with three dissenting notes and criticism by some of the panel’s own members who said the “big fish” have been let off.
The panel in its 466-page report, which was tabled in Parliament on Monday, said since there was no case against Patel nor any clinching evidence against Singh, there wasn’t any need for the Committee to examine them. It also said there was nothing to prove that SP’s Reoati Raman Singh was in BJP MP Ashok Argal’s residence as Singh’s emissary. He was definitely not a party to the money transaction, it said.
The report 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, the BJP ideologue, who had told the panel that he had masterminded the operation.
The panel also called for reviewing the procedure that requires a member of one House being asked to appear before the committee of another House. The process at present is a cumbersome one.
“For arriving at any conclusion that an unethical conduct has been committed there needs to be conclusive proof. The inquiry committee cannot possibly have the wherewithal of investigating devices… Hence, in cases where facts are confounding and no clear picture is emerging, the Committee felt it would be in the fitness of things if such cases are inquired into by the concerned and appropriate investigating agencies,” the panel said.
The next course of action would be decided by the Speaker.
Of the seven members, three gave dissenting notes: BJP’s VK Malhotra and CPM’s Mohammad Salim wanted the case referred to the Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee and SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav did not want the panel to proceed against Saxena. Yadav also wanted the panel to go into the CDs provided by SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD’s Lalu Prasad and LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan — the plea was rejected.
Salim later released the entire text of his note insinuating that the panel had done its job half-heartedly, particularly in calling witnesses, going into the money trail or uncovering the truth.
The report came as BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahavir Bhagora and Ashok Argal appeared before the Lok Sabha’s Privileges Committee on Monday in response to a petition filed by MPs Madhusudan Mistry and Mohan Singh that the trio had violated parliamentary privilege by flashing wads of money in the House.