NEW DELHI: Pushing its probe into the cash-for-votes scam, Delhi police Monday separately questioned Samajwadi Party MP, Mr Rewati Raman Singh and BJP MP, Mr Ashok Argal, both of whom gave divergent statements on the issue.
Mr Rewati Raman, who is accused of having played a mediator’s role in the purported bribery attempt in 2008, was questioned for about 90 minutes by the Crime Branch officials to ascertain whether or not he was connected with the issue, police sources said.
Sources said 68-year-old Mr Rewati Raman told police that Mr Argal, who was allegedly sought to be bribed, had approached him saying that he and two other BJP MPs wanted to join SP as they feared that BJP would deny seat to them due to delimitation of constituencies.
Mr Rewati Raman, the Lok Sabha member from Allahabad, later told reporters that he told police what he told the parliamentary panel which looked into the scam. “I have told them what I have told the parliamentary panel. The case is before Supreme Court now. I want the conspiracy behind the episode exposed,” he said.
Hours later, police questioned Mr Argal who countered Mr Rewati Raman’s contention, saying it was the other way round, the sources said. He claimed that Mr Rewati Raman had approached him and that the SP MP will have to explain what he was doing at his house in the midnight of July 21 and 22, 2008. Forty two-year-old Mr Argal questioned why he would join Congress or SP as claimed by Mr Rewati Raman. “I will die as a BJP worker. My father was jailed for 19 months during Emergency. Then why should I join Congress or BJP? No such question arises,” he said.
Mr Argal said he appeared before the police responding to a summons and expected that the probe will be on the right track. “I am being questioned after police gave a clean chit to Congress and SP leaders. After the probe, the truth will prevail,” he said.
Police also asked Mr Rewati Raman about the telephone call he received from Suhail Hindustani, who is alleged to be go-between the bribe givers and bribe takers, on the midnight of July 21 and 22 and to know why he went to the house of Mr Argal as alleged by the other side.
With this, Delhi police has questioned five persons over the past ten days after the Supreme Court came down heavily on investigators for carrying out a shoddy probe in the three-year-old case. The questioning of Mr Rewati Raman and Mr Argal came three days after Mr Amar Singh was questioned by the investigators. Two persons Sanjeev Saxena, former aide of Mr Amar Singh, and Suhail Hindustani, an alleged go-between Mr Amar Singh and BJP sought to be bribed, were arrested after quizzing last week.
Investigators have already given a virtual clean chit to Mr Rewati Raman and others saying it was Hindustani only who tried to approach them for striking a deal for MPs to vote in favour of the UPA government. Police believe that Hindustani is the mastermind of the scam and tried to entrap leaders of Samajwadi Party and it was with this purpose that he telephoned Mr Rewati Raman.