The Delhi High Court Friday issued notice to police on a plea by a former aide of Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, seeking quashing of corruption charges framed against him in the cash-for-vote scam of 2008.
Justice V.P. Vaish asked Delhi Police to file a status report on petitioner Sanjeev Saxena’s plea against whom a trial court framed corruption charges Nov 22 last year.
Saxena moved the high court seeking quashing of the charges, charge sheet and the proceedings in the case.
In November 2013, a trial court had discharged former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahavir Bhagora and Ashok Argal, as well as Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former close aide of BJP leader L.K. Advani, and BJP activist Sohail Hindustani.
The court, however, framed corruption charges against Saxena saying that there was sufficient ground for presuming that Saxena has committed offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
On July 22, 2008, Kulaste, Bhagora and Argal waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha ahead of a trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.
Challenging the order of framing of charges against him, Saxena said there was no evidence that at any stage he conspired with any abettor or any public servant.
“If the judge has discharged him even for an offence of conspiracy, then the court on the basis of presumptions cannot frame a new charge against him…,” the plea said.
“There is nothing to show that there was any offer of any bribe or illegal gratification and as such the petitioner (Saxena) cannot be said to have abetted the offence under Section 7 or 11 of Prevention of Corruption Act,” it added.
The trial court said: “… he (Saxena) was caught on camera handing over the amount to the three BJP MPs. There is no evidence of meeting of minds with any other persons.”
On Amar Singh, the court said circumstances against him do not go beyond the “realm of suspicion”.
The court discharged all the accused except Saxena in the cash-for-vote scam.
In its first charge sheet filed in August 2011, Delhi Police had accused Amar Singh and Kulkarni of conspiring and masterminding the cash-for-vote scam to bribe some MPs ahead of the confidence vote.
The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation of a parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.
All the accused were booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora had earlier claimed it was a sting operation to highlight horse-trading in parliament ahead of the trust vote.