Denying having been offered any bribe during the parliamentary vote of confidence in July 2008, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday, however, favoured a probe into the ‘cash-for-vote’ scam “to establish truth in what happened.”
Omar, the then Member of Parliament (MP) who had voted for the UPA government and delivered a highly emotional speech, clarified that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had not asked him for “support” and he was not offered a single penny for the deal.
“I had a conversation with the Prime Minister at that time and I don’t specifically recall a conversation with Rahul where he asked for National Conference support. In fact, I got in touch with Rahul and asked him how the process was going on and in which way we could help them (UPA),” Omar said outside the state Legislative Assembly in Jammu.
The Wikileaks expose on the alleged ‘cash-for-votes’ scam in 2008, alleged that Rahul Gandhi worked on Omar during the trust vote.
The Parliament was repeatedly adjourned on Friday as Opposition MPs again raised the issue of the WikiLeaks cable on the Congress allegedly bribing MPs to win the trust vote in 2008.
The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the allegations of bribery saying “Nobody from Congress or government engaged in any unlawful act.” He described the WikiLeaks expose as “speculative, unverified and unverifiable”.
Omar said he was a “firm believer” that India needed to secure the nuclear deal to improve its energy position. He, however, said there are certain “factual inaccuracies” in the WikiLeaks cables and obliviously the question does arise why a US diplomat would invent the “incomplete story”.
"At some point of time we will have to establish truth in what happened. I don’t believe that somebody of the stature of the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi would have sanctioned any kind of system of buying votes but what happened that needs to be gone into.” “I was not offered money for the N-deal but when the trust vote of NDA was going on in 1998-99, I remembered at that time a senior minister had approached and asked what you wanted for support to NDA. I would not say that he offered me money but ‘give and take’ usually takes place in such things,” Omar said.
He further said it was the then power minister who had approached him. “I had asked that sovereign counter guarantees for our power projects. But during the nuclear deal nothing like this was happened,” he said.
One of his party MPs, Saif-ud-Din Soz’, defiance had brought down the NDA government.