Larger SC bench to examine if an expelled MP is bound by whip

Larger SC bench to examine if an expelled MP is bound by whip
Larger SC bench to examine if an expelled MP is bound by whip

The Supreme Court today referred to a larger bench the issue whether a lawmaker is bound by the party whip even after his or her expulsion.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Rajya Sabha MP and expelled Samajwadi Party member Amar Singh, who has sought to declare that the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution relating to disqualification on ground of defection do not apply to an elected member of a House who has been expelled by the party.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar referred to an earlier plea filed by Singh in which the court had refused to revisit the historic 1996 verdict on the anti- defection law which had held that a nominated or elected lawmaker of a political party is bound by its whip even after expulsion.

The bench said while dealing with that case, the two judge bench had referred the matter to a larger bench and framed certain questions, including “What is the status in either House of Parliament or the state legislatures of a member who is expelled from the party which set him/her up as a candidate for election”.

The matter was then heard by a three-judge bench which had disposed of the plea while keeping open the questions referred to by the two-judge bench for decision in an appropriate case.

“As we find, in the case at hand, the term of the petitioner (Amar Singh) shall be up to July 4, 2022. Thus, the reference that was made in the case of Amar Singh, the present petitioner, remains to be dealt with as the same has not been answered with the efflux of time,” the apex court said today.

“As the question remains alive today, we think it appropriate that the matter should be placed before the larger bench for consideration of the questions which we have reproduced from the decision rendered in Amar Singh,” it said.

The bench said the petition be placed before Chief Justice of India J S Khehar for the constitution of an appropriate larger bench to deal with the issues.

“In the alternative, declare that the petitioner having been expelled by the Samajwadi Party, his conduct would no longer fall within the acts that constitute a disqualification within the meaning of para 2(1)(a) and para 2(1)(b) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution,” Singh’s plea had said.

The apex court also issued notice to the Centre on the interim relief sought by Singh that the 1996 verdict shall not apply to him while the issues raised by him are pending consideration by the larger bench.

As per the interpretation of the anti-defection law by the Supreme Court in 1996, a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after his or her expulsion.

( Source – PTI )

Plea against Amar Singh, others: Court to pass order on Aug 4

Amar singhA Delhi court today reserved for August 4 its order on a plea challenging a magisterial court’s verdict dismissing a criminal complaint against Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and two others for allegedly kidnapping a key witness of the 2008 cash-for-vote case.

Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kapoor reserved the order after hearing arguments advanced by the counsel of complainant Hashmat Ali, who was a key witness in the cash-for-vote scam case, and the advocate appearing for Amar Singh and others.

Amar Singh and his secretary Tarun appeared in the court today while the third person Ramesh, who has also been named in the petition, was absent as the summons issued against him were not served.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Ali alleged that his client was kidnapped by Tarun and Ramesh from Khan Market here on September 25, 2008 when he was to depose before a parliamentary inquiry committee probing the cash-for-vote case.

He claimed that after kidnapping Ali, Tarun and Ramesh had taken him to Singh’s residence from where he was handed over to the police.

Ali’s lawyer argued that the magistrate had dismissed his criminal complaint against Singh and two others saying there were no independent witnesses to corroborate the allegations.

“The (alleged) offence was not committed before any independent witnesses. Where was the questions of examining any independent witnesses?,” he said.

Countering his arguments, senior advocate N Hariharan and advocate S P M Tripathi, who appeared for Singh and others, said that the magistrate’s order was based not only on the testimony of Ali but also on the inquiry conducted under provisions of CrPC.

Hariharan also said that even the police, in its action taken report, had earlier said that there was no evidence to corroborate the allegations levelled by Ali.

The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its order for August 4 on the revision petition filed by Ali challenging the magisterial court’s order passed in January this year.

(Source: PTI)

Order reserved on charges in cash-for-vote scam

A Delhi court on Thursday reserved its order on framing of charges in the 2008 cash-for-vote-scam involving former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and two BJP MPs.

Special Judge Narottam Kaushal reserved for October 19 order on framing of charges “October 19 for orders,” the judge said.

During the arguments on framing of charges, Amar Singh had sought discharge from the case, saying there was no evidence to show that he had induced BJP MPs to cross vote in the trust vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008 in return for money.

The Delhi Police, in its first charge sheet filed in August 2011, had accused Mr. Singh and L K Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni of “conspiring” and “masterminding” the cast-for-vote scam to bribe some MPs ahead of a confidence vote in Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

Besides Mr. Singh and Mr. Kulkarni, BJP MPs Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste and former MP Mahabir Singh Bhagora Sanjeev Saxena, Mr. Singh’s former aide and BJP activist Sohail Hindustani are accused in the case.

The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation by a parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.

All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

During the arguments, police had rejected the claim of the accused that it was a whistleblowing operation or a sting and said that this plea was rejected by the Parliamentary inquiry committee.

Mr. Argal, Mr. Kulaste and Mr. Bhagora had earlier claimed it was a sting operation to highlight horse trading in Parliament ahead of the July 22, 2008 trust vote.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh was also made an accused in the case by the trial court which had said there was sufficient material to show that he was part of the alleged criminal conspiracy.

The Delhi High Court, however, had quashed the trial court’s order making Mr. Singh an accused in the case.

The order of the high court had come on Mr. Singh’s petition challenging the special court’s order making him an accused in the case and issuing summons against him despite a clean chit given to him by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.

(Source: IANS)

Cash-for-vote-scam: Order reserved on framing of charges

A Delhi court on Thursday reserved its order on framing of charges in the 2008 cash-for-vote-scam involving former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and two BJP MPs.

Special Judge Narottam Kaushal reserved for October 19 order on framing of charges “October 19 for orders,” the judge said.

During the arguments on framing of charges, Amar Singh had sought discharge from the case, saying there was no evidence to show that he had induced BJP MPs to cross vote in the trust vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008 in return for money.

The Delhi Police, in its first charge sheet filed in August 2011, had accused Mr. Singh and L K Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni of “conspiring” and “masterminding” the cast-for-vote scam to bribe some MPs ahead of a confidence vote in Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

Besides Mr. Singh and Mr. Kulkarni, BJP MPs Ashok Argal and Faggan Singh Kulaste and former MP Mahabir Singh Bhagora Sanjeev Saxena, Mr. Singh’s former aide and BJP activist Sohail Hindustani are accused in the case.

The case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation by a parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.

All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

During the arguments, police had rejected the claim of the accused that it was a whistleblowing operation or a sting and said that this plea was rejected by the Parliamentary inquiry committee.

Mr. Argal, Mr. Kulaste and Mr. Bhagora had earlier claimed it was a sting operation to highlight horse trading in Parliament ahead of the July 22, 2008 trust vote.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh was also made an accused in the case by the trial court which had said there was sufficient material to show that he was part of the alleged criminal conspiracy.

The Delhi High Court, however, had quashed the trial court’s order making Mr. Singh an accused in the case.

The order of the high court had come on Mr. Singh’s petition challenging the special court’s order making him an accused in the case and issuing summons against him despite a clean chit given to him by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.

(Source:IANS)

Cash-for-vote scam: Arguments on charge begin

To frame the charges on the Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh BJP leader LK Advanis former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, BJP MP Ashok Argal and four other accused the prosecution has began arguments.

Prosecution began arguments on framing charges in the five year old cash for vote scam.

The other accused in the case include former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, Suhail Hindustani and Amar Singh’s former aide Sanjeev Saxena.

Appearing before special judge Narottam Kaushal, solicitor general Mohan Parasaran said, “The argument that the entire thing was a sting is not correct.”

During the hearing, the SG elaborated on the role of the accused saying, “As far as Hindustani is concerned, it is quite clear that he was the main conspirator and he was the one who got in touch with vulnerable BJP leaders.”

Hindustani met S P Gupta, Aman Arora and Lovely Singh (all cited as prosecution witnesses) and offered names of the three BJP MPs, Parasaran said, adding that he met Kulkarni and they conspired to contact the news channel to do a sting.

On Kulkarni’s role, Parasaran said, “Their argument is that the entire thing was a sting. But no… Kulkarni had twin objects, one was the sting operation and other was the bribe.” The court was also told that it was on Kulkarni’s directions that Hindustani started contacting people in Samajwadi Party.

As the SG narrated the sequence of events of various meetings between the accused persons and their movement, the defence objected and contended that the prosecution could not describe the scenes on its own when it is there in the CD. At this point, a part of the CD was played in the court.

Parasaran also said BJP MPs Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora fell under the same category and had the entire episode been a sting, they would have informed law enforcement agencies. On Saxena, the prosecution said he was the person who carried the money to Singh’s residence.

The court has fixed the matter for hearing for Saturday when the defence will begin its arguments.

The first chargesheet in the matter was filed in August 2011 in which all but Argal were named as accused.

Delhi Police has filed three supplementary chargesheets and Argal was named as accused in the second supplementary chargesheet. In the first chargesheet, police had accused Amar Singh and Kulkarni of “conspiring” and “masterminding” the scam to bribe some MPs ahead of the July 22, 2008 confidence vote in Lok Sabha.

All the accused have been booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. The case was registered in 2009 on recommendation by a parliamentary panel which had probed the scam.

Cash-for-votes: Order reserved on complaint against Amar Singh

A trial court here Wednesday reserved till Dec 12 its order on a complaint by a prosecution witness in the 2008 cash-for-votes case, alleging that accused and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and others allegedly abducted him ahead of his deposition before a parliamentary panel.

Hasmat Ali alleged he was abducted Sep 25, 2008 from Khan Market in south Delhi.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar reserved the order on Ali’s plea alleging that the MP got him abducted through his then secretary Tarun Goel and aide Ramesh.

Ali alleged he was taken to the Lodhi Estate bungalow of Amar Singh when he was to record his testimony before a parliamentary inquiry panel probing into the scam.

Police filed a report in court saying that according to their inquiry, no such incident took place.

“We have found that no incident of forcibly putting Hasmat Ali into a car and taking him away happened Sep 25, 2008,” the report said.

“From the inquiry, the allegation in the complaint of Hasmat Ali were not found substantiated and hence no FIR (first information report) was registered. The petition is an afterthought and without merit, it deserves to be dismissed,” it added.

Ali’s counsel L.K. Verma told the court that the police report had refused to believe his client, despite “solely relying” on his testimony in the cash-for-votes case.

“On the one hand, they (police) are solely relying on Hasmat Ali’s testimony in the 2008 cash-for-votes case, but here they are disbelieving him and his complaint,” Verma said.

“He was picked up by the accused from Khan Market here at gunpoint on the morning of Sep 25, 2008 and, consequently, he could not record his statement before the panel,” he said.

“Amar Singh started abusing the complainant (Ali) and threatened to kill him and his family. Singh then slapped the complainant. Thereafter, the complainant was locked in a room and after three-four hours, he was handed over to police in the presence of media,” the complaint said.

Ali claimed Amar Singh wanted him to give a favourable testimony before the panel. The complainant sought registration of an FIR against Amar Singh and his two aides.

On July 22, 2008, three BJP leaders 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.

Amar Singh has been chargesheeted by police in the 2008 cash-for-votes case along with Sudheendra Kulkarni, then advisor to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahabir Singh Bhagora and co-accused Sohail Hindustani and Sanjeev Saxena. All six have been granted bail by the Delhi High Court.

Cash-for-vote scam witness says Amar Singh threatened him

A Delhi court Monday asked Delhi Police to file a status report on a complaint of a key prosecution witness in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam case that Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh and others had threatened and kidnapped him ahead of his deposition before a parliamentary committee.

 The court was hearing a private complaint filed by Hashmat Ali, a prosecution witness in the cash-for vote scam.

Ali, in his complaint, sought registration of an FIR against Singh, his secretary Tarun and his aide Ramesh under various provisions of the IPC and the Arms Act relating to his kidnapping, illegal confinement, robbery and criminal intimidation.

 Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar in his order said: ‘Station House Officer (SHO) of Tughlak Road police station is directed to file a status report on Nov 21.’

 Ali said in his complaint that Sep 25, 2008, when he was to record his testimony before the parliamentary inquiry committee, constituted to probe the scam, he was kidnapped by co-accused Tarun and Ramesh and was taken to the Lodhi Estate bungalow of Amar Singh.

 ‘Amar Singh started abusing complainant (Ali) and threatened to kill him and his family. Then Singh slapped the complainant. Thereafter, the complainant was locked in a room and after three-four hours, he was handed over to the police in the presence of media,’ states the complaint filed through Ali’s counsel L.K. Verma.

 Singh, undergoing treatment at AIIMS in judicial custody, is an accused along with BJP leader L.K. Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahabir Singh Bhagora and activist Sohail Hindustani and Sanjeev Saxena in the cash-for-vote scam case.

 Ali in his complaint had alleged that first Singh attempted to lure him to give a favourable testimony before the parliamentary panel.

 ‘He was picked up by the accused from Khan Market here at gunpoint on the morning of Sep 25 and consequently, he could not record his statement before the panel,’ said Verma.

 ‘The parliamentary panel had also directed the secretariat to prepare a draft report in the matter after Ali did not appear before it,’ added Verma.

 Singh and others have been charge sheeted by the crime branch of Delhi Police in the main case. It has been alleged that Singh hatched a criminal conspiracy to bribe the then BJP MPs to influence their voting on the confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

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Amar Singh’s bail plea rejected, to remain in AIIMS

Rajya Sabha MP and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s bail plea was rejected by a Delhi court Wednesday in the 2008 cash-for-votes scandal. He will, however, continue to stay in hospital where he is being treated for a kidney-related ailment.

 

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal rejected both his pleas for regular and interim bail. The judge also said that he would stay in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences as long as the doctors thought this to be necessary.

 

“The accused is stable but requires monitoring. I leave it to the good judgement of these specialists and super specialists at AIIMS to decide the period for which the accused is to be kept under observation,” said the judge, while pronouncing the order.

The court further said that prior to Sep 13, the accused was granted interim bail that comes to an end Wednesday.

The 55-year-old leader, who is a patient of diabetes, underwent a renal transplant in September 2009 and intestinal surgery 10 years ago. Besides, he is also a patient of hypertension, tuberculosis infection, chronic kidney disease and urinary tract infection.

He was admitted to AIIMS Sep 12.

 Amar Singh was arrested Sep 6 for his alleged involvement in an attempt to bribe MPs ahead of the July 2008 parliament trust vote.

 On July 22, 2008, three BJP MPs 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 in a parliamentary trust vote.

Amar Singh seeks court’s nod for treatment abroad

Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, arrested in the cash-for-votes scam, Monday filed an application before a Delhi court seeking permission to go out of India for medical treatment.

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal accepted the application and posted it for hearing today.

The court had extended Singh’s interim bail till Sep 27 on medical grounds.

The 55-year-old leader, who is a diabetic, underwent a renal transplant in September 2009 and intestinal surgery 10 years ago. Besides, he also suffers from hypertension, tuberculosis infection, chronic kidney disease and urinary tract infection.

Admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Amar Singh’s regular bail application will be heard Sep 27.

He was arrested Sep 6 for his alleged involvement in an attempt to bribe MPs ahead of the July 2008 parliament trust vote.

On July 22, 2008, three BJP MPs 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.

Congress dismisses Jethmalani’s submission against Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, The Congress Monday dismissed the allegation by Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh’s counsel Ram Jethmalani that senior party leader Ahmed Patel was the source of the money in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam, and said the party was prepared for its government’s fall in the event of losing the trust vote.

 

Answering queries about Jethmalani making a U-turn before a Delhi court and claiming that Congress leader Ahmed Patel was the source of the money allegedly given to three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs in 2008 as bribe ahead of the trust vote by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said, ‘These are serial accusations’.

 

‘We have no insecurity…We have nothing to do with it. Please try to understand that after much wait and thought process, we decided to take up the challenge of no-confidence on the floor of the house. We were very secure and were prepared to pay the price if the government fell. There is no such insecurity. You have to look at who had insecurity,’ Chowdhury said.

 

Asked whether Amar Singh was responsible for the scam, Chowdhary said: ‘I am not the judge.’

 

The spokesperson took a dig at Jethmalani over his submission in the case, saying a few days back he had sought to put the onus for the money on the BJP.

 

‘Wait for three more days. Something else will come out,’ Chowdhury said.

 

Asked who had benefited from the cash-for-votes episode, Chowdhury said: ‘I do not know who benefited. The country hopefully benefited.’

 

Jethmalani Monday told a Delhi court that the person who paid money during the 2008 trust vote was Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel.

 

Earlier, Jethmalani had argued that since it was a sting operation mounted by the BJP, the money ‘must have’ come from the BJP. Jethmalani himself is the BJP’s Rajya Sabha member.

 

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal extended till Sep 27 the interim bail granted to Amar Singh, in custody for alleged involvement in the scam and currently admitted for treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences). He was arrested Sep 6.

 

On July 22, 2008, three BJP MPs 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.