The reason the BJP MPs are being offered money is not clear.
Stark evidence of money — Rs 1 crore in bundles of Rs 1,000 each — being handed over to three Members of Parliament belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for favours rendered was shown by television channel CNN IBN tonight.
This was within hours of the channel testifying before the parliamentary committee investigating the cash-for-vote scam.
Exactly why the money was being offered was not clearly stated or recorded by the hidden camera and microphone installed by CNN IBN with the concurrence of the BJP MPs. Neither Reoti Raman Singh, the Samajwadi Party Lok Sabha MP from Allahabad who was the initial go-between, nor the MPs clearly spelt out why Rs 1 crore was brought to the residence of Ashok Argal at 4 Ferozeshah Road on the morning of July 22, the day of the trust vote.
The tape shows Reoti Raman Singh trying to persuade the MPs on the night before the trust vote (July 21) to accompany him to Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh’s residence. They are joined by a man calling himself Sohail.
The tape shows these MPs leaving Argal’s home the next morning to drive into Amar Singh’s home in a car allegedly registered in the name of a company owned by a family member of Amar Singh.
The tape shows them driving out and has one of the three saying on camera that because of the large number of media personnel outside Singh’s house, they decided not to accept the money at Amar Singh’s residence.
The July 22 (the morning of the trust vote) tape shows a man identified as Sanjiv Saxena coming to Argal’s home and after talking to a man he identifies as Amar Singh, taking Rs 1 crore out of a black bag and putting it on the table.
On tape, Amar Singh says Saxena was not his “direct” employee but used to visit his party office on South Avenue, which was located in a flat allotted to MP Shahid Siddiqui. (Siddiqui has since left the SP and joined the Bahujan Samaj Party).
Nowhere on tape is it clearly spelt out that the money these MPs are getting is to vote in the trust vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government. Nor is Amar Singh visible anywhere on tape talking directly to the MPs.
The CNN IBN reporters are shown trying to locate Sanjiv Saxena and his family at their residence but failing to do so.
Subsequent evidence unearthed by the BJP comprising cellphone records — which has been handed over to the committee investigating the scam — indicates, according to party general Secretary Arun Jaitely, that Saxena was employed by Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd (HFCL).
The company told Business Standard no one by the name of Sanjiv Saxena worked there.
However, circumstantial evidence is strong that the Samajwadi Party tried to influence with bribes BJP MPs Mahaveer Singh Bhagora, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ashok Argal to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.
CNN IBN clarified that it waited to telecast the tape because they did not want to influence the committee until they had testified before it. It said it did not want to air an incomplete investigation.