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Delhi HC grants bail to Kulkarni, 5 others
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

Sudheendra Kulkarni
Sudheendra Kulkarni

New Delhi, November 16
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to six persons accused in the cash-for-vote scam, observing that they appeared to have participated only in a sting operation as there was no prima facie evidence to show that bribe was demanded and paid.

The accused are Sudheendra Kulkarni (former aide of BJP leader LK Advani), Sanjeev Saxena (ex-associate of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh), Ashok Argal (sitting BJP MP), Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora (former BJP MPs) and Suhail Hindustani (alleged BJP activist).

While Argal got anticipatory bail, the HC granted regular bail to the other five as they are in jail.

Justice ML Mehta ordered the release of the five accused after securing a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh from each one of them. The judge directed them to join the investigation by the Delhi police as and when required. Argal will have to appear before the trial court upon being summoned.

Amar Singh, who is also an accused in the case, got bail from the high court on October 24 for medical reasons. Kulkarni is in jail since September 27, while Bhagora and Kulaste were arrested along with Amar Singh.

In a common order, Justice Mehta pointed out that even Parliament did not take any action against the MPs. “Admittedly, no action was taken by the Parliament except that of appointing a parliamentary inquiry committee. It has been noted that some of the members of the inquiry committee have also given dissenting views,” the HC observed.

The judge also said that if the accused had actually intended to take bribe they would not have become part of the sting operation conducted by a news channel.

The Delhi police has registered the case which relates to the waving of wads of currency notes by some BJP MPs on the floor of the Lok Sabha during the confidence vote taken by the UPA-I government on July 22, 2008. The MPs who had brought the cash into the House had claimed that it was a bribe paid to them for supporting the trust vote.

According to Kulkarni, the alleged horse trading had come to light following the sting operation and that he and the BJP MPs had merely taken part in that media exercise.

During the arguments in the HC, counsel for the accused persons had contended that instead of naming their clients, who were in fact whistleblowers, as witnesses in the case the police had booked them for a crime not committed by them. 





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