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Cash-for-votes scam: Clean chit for Amar Singh

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Last updated on: December 15, 2008 13:10 IST

A Lok Sabha committee that went into the cash-for-votes scam during the confidence vote in July has exonerated Samajwadi Party lawmaker Amar Singh and Congress lawmaker Ahmed Patel, saying there was no evidence against them.

Two Opposition lawmakers -- V K Malhotra of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Mohd Saleem of the Communist Party of India-Marxist -- have given dissenting notes on the 466-page report of the committee headed by Congress MP Kishore Chandra Suryanarayana Deo.

"There is no direct evidence against Amar Singh. The committee is inclined to discount the video clip of the car entering or coming out of Amar Singh's house because in the first place the video clipping does not show the face of persons (claimed to be Shri Argal and Kulasthe) seated in the rear seat,' the report said.

The committee has, however, recommended a probe by an 'appropriate agency' into the role of Sanjeev Saxena, said to be an aide of Amar Singh, Sohail Hindustani, driver, and Sudheendra Kulkarni, an aide of BJP leader L K Advani.

The committee report and the dissenting reports were placed on the table of the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Three BJP MPs had shocked the Lok Sabha on July 22 when they opened a bag displayed wads of currency notes claiming they were offered Rs 3 crore in bribe by Amar Singh, in which Ahmed Patel also allegedly played a role, to vote or abstain in favour of the government.

Secondly, the committee report said a car seen entering and coming out of a residence 'is neither here nor there'.

'The committee is constrained to observe that the matter on record does not conclusively prove that the money contained in the bag, which was eventually displayed in the House, was actually sent by Amar Singh for the purpose of winning over these MPs.

'As there is no case against Ahmed Patel and there is no clinching evidence against Amar Singh, there is no cause of action for the Committee or the House to make a request to the Rajya Sabha requiring these two (Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel) members to appear before the Inquiry Committee or the House.

'There is no action for requiring the matter related to the complaint against the said two members of the Rajya Sabha for examination, investigation and report,' the committee said.

'It does not prove what transpired inside the House.  There is nothing to show that money was offered for voting in favour of the motion of confidence or for abstaining from voting,' it added.

The Congress-led UPA won the vote of confidence after two days of debate in which a number of MPs from the Opposition cross vote in favour of the motion. The confidence vote was taken after the Left parties withdrew support to the government and the Samajwadi Party switched sides expressing support to the government.

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