M A I N   N E W S

BJP MPs file complaint with Speaker
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 25
Showing no signs of retreat from its stand that the UPA indulged in horse-trading to survive the trust vote in Parliament, the BJP today filed a formal complaint alleging that three of its MPs were bribed in return for support to the government.

The complaint levels allegations of bribery against Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, another senior SP leader Revati Raman Singh and Congress’ strategist Ahmad Patel. It was filed today with the office of the Speaker in the Lok Sabha secretariat.

BJP parliamentary party spokesperson V.K. Malhotra, confirming the submission of complaint, said: “The BJP today filed a complaint stating how its MPs were bribed to vote for the Prime Minister’s confidence motion. The complaint has been submitted to the Speaker.”

Amar Singh, on the other hand, rubbished the allegations of bribery, saying: “We also lost MPs to the other side; we have expelled them. There is no question of having paid anyone anything.” Interestingly, when the BJP was submitting its complaint to the Speaker in the capital, SP’s Kishori Lal Yadav was readying to attend the hearing in the defamation case he filed against three BJP MPs alleging bribery by SP leaders as well as L K Advani. The case came up for hearing in Lucknow.

The bribery complaint by the BJP comes three days after BJP MPs -- Ashok Argal, Mahavir Bhagora and Fagan Singh Kulste -- displayed wads of currency in the Lok Sabha. It is significant as it opens doors for a possible inquiry into the incident that has shamed Parliament. The complainants have reportedly submitted “sufficient evidence” in support of their claims; the evidence is said to comprise details of SMSs exchanged ahead of the deal, and TV footage of the incident.

Confirming the receipt of a formal complaint by BJP MPs today, sources in the Speaker’s office said the case couldnow be examined. “In the absence of any complaint, we had no locus standi under rules to proceed with any investigation into this sensitive matter. Now, the Speaker can examine contents of the complaints and the supporting documents and evidence to see if a case is made out.”

In case the Speaker, upon perusal of the submitted file, finds that a prima facie case is made out, the matter will be referred to a Lok Sabha committee for further examination. Sources in the LS secretariat today said although the matter was fit to be referred to the ethics committee of the Lok Sabha, this may not be possible as the committee did not have a chairman.

“No chairman could be appointed after the demise of former prime minister Chandra Shekhar. The House wanted someone of Chandra Shekhar’s stature, but could not arrive on a consensus,” source said.

In that case, the BJP’s complaint, complete with documents, is now likely to be referred to the privileges committee. The Speaker may also constitute a separate committee to look into the matter. The final view will be taken next week.



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