New Delhi: With his name figuring in the 2008 'cash-for-vote' scam, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh was on Friday questioned for over three hours by Delhi Police which is set to expand the ambit of its probe into the case by quizzing Samajwadi Party leader Reoti Raman Singh.

Amar Singh, a former Samajwadi Party leader, was grilled by police officials at the Crime Branch office in Chanakyapuri during which he denied any involvement in the scam that rocked the country on this day three years back.

He was confronted with two arrested accused – Sanjeev Saxena, considered close to him, and Suhail Hindustani, alleged to be a go-between the bribe-givers and bribe-takers, who had named him in the scam.

Police officials did not rule out the possibility of Singh being questioned again.

Amar Singh, who is accused of sending bribe money to win over three BJP MPs during the 2008 Confidence Motion, did not speak to the waiting media persons.

The police, which was slammed by the Supreme Court last week for "callous" approach to the case, is set to expand the probe.

It has summoned tomorrow Reoti Raman, who is alleged to have been contacted by Hindustani on the midnight of July 21 and 22, 2008 for striking a deal to buy BJP MPs.

Police is also planning to question BJP MP Ashok Argal, who allegedly was sought to be bribed, besides BJP leader L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is alleged to have organised a sting operation to expose alleged bribery effort. Argal could be questioned on Monday, police sources said.

The sources said the Crime Branch team, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Chand, grilled Amar Singh about his links with Saxena as also Hindustani.

Significantly, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) L N Rao, who had investigated the phone tapping case of Amar Singh few years back, was also part of the team which questioned the former SP leader.

Amar Singh was summoned by police under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He came to the Crime Branch's Inter-State Cell in Chanakyapuri at 10.45 AM in his Mercedes car.

On Sunday, police had arrested Sanjeev Saxena who allegedly delivered cash to the MPs to vote in favour of the UPA during the trust vote.

Police sources said some accounts have been identified from which money, displayed in Lok Sabha during the Confidence Motion by three BJP MPs, was withdrawn.

One of the accounts belongs to a real estate company, the sources said but did not give further details.

BJP seeks government explanation

Meanwhile, the BJP on Friday asked the government to explain who was to benefit from the cash-for-vote scam in 2008 when UPA-I was about to fall and cast doubts on the ongoing investigations into the case, saying that an attempt was being made to hide the truth.

"The BJP would like to pose the basic question of who was the beneficiary of the entire exercise which was conducted in 2008, when the government was almost about to fall," party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while addressing media persons here.

Rudy asked specifically whether the UPA government or the UPA prime minister was a beneficiary of the cash-for-vote scam, which happened during the 2008 vote of confidence to save the Congress-led UPA regime.

Raising doubts over the investigations being carried out into the scam, the BJP leader said though all investigations normally lead to bringing out the truth, just the opposite is being done in the cash-for-vote scam.

"While normally investigations are carried out to bring out the truth, an attempt is being made here to hide the truth in this case," he said.

Rudy said this was evident from the fact that even as investigations are yet to be concluded in the scam, statements are already being made about the non-involvement of Congress or Samajwadi Party in the case.

"Even the Prime Minister had categorically stated that they are not involved in any kind of illegal activity in this vote of confidence in 2008," the BJP leader said. Rudy said, two facts are evident from such statements which explain the slackness in the investigations being conducted into the case.

"The first being that Delhi Police has taken note of the prime minister's statement, which possibly reflects the reluctance on its part to conduct the investigations into the case. The second being that Delhi Police works under ministry of Home affairs and directly reports to it and the Centre."

Rudy went on to allege, "This itself corroborates the anguish of the highest court of the land and possibly gives ample evidence why for two years the Delhi Police was keeping quiet and only after an indictment by the Supreme Court they worked in haste."

Seeking to pin down the government over the scam, Rudy said money was used at a high level to save the UPA government in July, 2008 and the government should answer questions posed to it in this regard.

Cong reacts sharply to BJP poser

Reacting sharply to BJP's poser asking the government to explain who was to benefit from the cash-for-vote scam, the Congress accused the opposition party MPs of being desperate to sell themselves at the time of the trust vote in 2008.
 
"I could say many things which I am not saying. I could say that Sudheendra Kulkarni (former BJP leader) had once admitted that it was organized by the BJP but I am not saying it.

"I could have said that BJP could not have had a newschannel recording prior to it happened. I could say that it was not a case of sting but of MPs desperate to sell themselves so as to say to the public that the government survived through other means. But why should I say all this," Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

He said the Congress was of the view that all aspects in the case should be examined and investigations completed fast so that the truth comes out in this Supreme Court monitored probe.

He said it will not be appropriate to be commenting on the case in the middle of ongoing investigations into it.

Hindustani, Saxena call probe 'eyewash'

Suhail Hindustani and Sanjeev Saxena, arrested in the cash-for-vote scam, today alleged in a court here that the probe against them was an ‘eyewash’ as the Delhi Police, which ruled out the role of Samajwadi Party, was questioning its former leader Amar Singh.

The duo, remanded to 14-days judicial custody by Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, also termed the probe as "malicious" and said the Delhi Police, which yesterday gave clean chit to Congress Party and SP, was today examining Singh who was associated with the latter.

"They (police) are saying their investigation is going on and today they are questioning Amar Singh. But yesterday they have themselves given clean chit to the Congress and the Samajwadi Party. It is only an eyewash. As they are saying that, they are also questioning Amar Singh today," Hindustani's counsel Anand said.

He also alleged that police have flouted the court's order regarding presence of defence counsel at the time of the interrogation of the accused in their custody as he was not told about it at all.
   
"Just now, he (crime branch official) said that both the accused were interrogated. Why were the defence counsel not informed about it despite the court's order?" he asked.

At the outset when the two accused were produced, the judge wanted to know from the police about the outcome of their custodial interrogation.

"What has been done since yesterday, show me," the judge asked the police.

Responding to the court's query, the police said they have been interrogated "at length" and the probe was going on in a fair manner.

Hindustani and Saxena, arrested for their alleged role in the scam, were interrogated by the Joint Commissioner and other officials and they were confronted with each other and an IAS officer S P Gupta, who is one of the witnesses in the case, the crime branch of the Delhi police said.

The judge asked the police why they have not secured the presence of defence counsel during interrogation of the accused as ordered by the court.

The police countered the allegations of the defence counsel by reiterating their stand that they are doing fair probe in the case.

The defence counsel also contended that the police is doing nothing in the case and their probe is malicious.

Delhi police had yesterday alleged that Hindustani was the "master orchestra" of conspiracy to bribe BJP MPs to vote in favour of Manmohan Singh government in a trust vote in 2008.


Suhail, Saxena sent to Tihar Jail

Arrested for their alleged involvement in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam, Suhail Hindustani and Sanjeev Saxena were sent to Tihar Jail on Friday by a Delhi court after the city police probing the case told it that they were no longer required for interrogation.

"Both accused are remanded to judicial custody till August 5," Special Judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal said, while sending the duo to judicial custody in Tihar Jail.

On the court's query about the duo's interrogation during the last 24 hours, Crime Branch sleuths of Delhi Police said Hindustani, whom they claim to be the key conspirator in the scam, was made to confront IAS officer S P Gupta, a witness in the case.

The prosecution counsel also submitted that the duo was personally interrogated by the Joint Commissioner of the Crime Branch.

The defence counsel, however, accused the police of not complying with the court's order saying that they were not allowed to remain present during the custodial interrogation of their clients despite the court's order for it on Friday.

The police countered the allegations of the defence counsel saying they were conducting a fair probe in the matter.

Slammed by the Supreme Court for a shoddy probe into the cash-for-vote scam, Delhi Police had first arrested Saxena on July 17 and he was remanded in police custody for three days.

Hindustani was arrested on July 20.

The duo has been booked for various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the police said.

The case was registered in 2009 on recommendation by a Parliamentary panel which had probed the cash-for-vote scam dating back to July 2008.

On July 22, 2008, some BJP MPs had waved wads of currency notes on the floor of Lok Sabha during the trust vote faced by the UPA-I government, claiming that they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.

JPN/Agencies