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Cash-for-votes: BJP MP exempted from attending trial court

The Delhi High Court Tuesday granted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ashok Argal exemption from personal appearance before the trial court till Nov 14 in the 2008 cash-for-votes scandal that rocked parliament.

 “Exemption granted to Argal from appearing in the trial court till Nov 14,” said Justice M.L. Mehta.

In a related development, Rajya Sabha MP and co-accused Amar Singh filed an application in the trial court seeking permission to visit Singapore for medical treatment. The court sought a reply from Delhi Police on the plea by Nov 3.

The high court, while hearing Argal’s petition, said that his application for anticipatory bail will be taken up Nov 14. The court issued notice to police seeking their reply by that date.

On Oct 14, the trial court summoned Argal, an MP from Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, before it Nov 3 to face charges levelled against him in the scam.

On July 22, 2008, Argal and two former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, had waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha just hours ahead of a trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.

 He was named as an accused in the second supplementary charge sheet filed by police Oct 3, after Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar granted sanction to police to prosecute him.

 The high court earlier issued notice to police on the bail pleas of Sudheendra Kulkarni, advisor to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Kulaste and Bhagora. Police were asked to respond by Nov 14.

Notice was also issued by the court to police after taking note of the bail application filed by co-accused and political worker Suhail Hindustani, who is also behind bars.

 Besides Hindustani, Amar Singh’s former aide Sanjeev Saxena is also facing prosecution in the case.

 Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh has also been named as an accused in the case. But the high court has stayed the summoning order issued by the trial court to Rewati Raman Singh.

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