In a new twist to the cash-for-vote scandal, BJP MPs Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste on Thursday alleged that the tapes shown to them by the parliamentary panel looking into the issue have been tampered with.
“There has been some deletion”, the duo alleged after giving their version to the seven-member fact-finding panel and watching the tapes submitted by CNN-IBN which carried out the sting operation. The two parliamentarians claimed that their version of the bribing operation was missing from the tapes they were shown on Thursday.
“The charge the MPs made to media persons later has nothing to do with the panel. It is between them and the private news channel”, said a member privy to the deliberations.
Later, while responding to queries, Congress leader Kishore Chandra Deo, who heads the panel, said it was not proper either to cast aspersions on the panel, which functions as a mini Parliament, or to prejudge the issue that is being probed.
Subjected to an intense two-hour grilling by the panel, the two MPs demanded that the committee call for telephone records and other material to corroborate their allegation that they had been “bribed” to abstain during the trust vote last month.
Their repeated their charge that the Samajwadi Party’s MP Amar Singh was the main force behind the bribery and had made them speak to the Congress president’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, who is also a member of the Upper House. The third MP—Mahavir Bhagora —did not appear before the panel as he is in hospital.
CNN-IBN reporters have been summoned on August 11 while SP’s Reoti Raman Singh on August 18. Others to be called to give evidence include Sanjeev Saxena and someone the comperes referred to as Raja Hindustani.