New Delhi: In a dramatic turn of events in the sensational 2008 cash-for-vote scam, Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh was on Tuesday arrested when he made a surprise appearance in a local court after first claiming that he was too ill to attend the proceedings.

55-year-old Singh was denied bail and taken into custody after the court sent him to Tihar jail in the case in which he has been chargesheeted by Delhi Police after Supreme Court
expressed displeasure over the "shoddy" probe.

Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days after Singh appeared a couple of hours after pleading for exemption from personal appearance on
medical grounds.

The court also rejected bail to former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, who too appeared before the court responding to its summons for their alleged
role in the scam.

BJP leader L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who has also been chargesheeted in the case, did not appear in the court today as he is stated to be abroad.

Armed with his medical reports, Singh made a fervent plea to the court to grant him bail saying that he has only recently undergone a kidney transplant in Singapore and required intensive round the clock medicare.

"I lost my kidneys and I am now living on borrowed kidneys. There are hazards of being in public life and there is infection in my urinary track which is dangerous for my borrowed kidney," said Singh.

However, the judge, after going through the medical reports submitted by Singh to her, said the documents do not show his medical history after September 2010.

"What has been your (Amar Singh's) medical history since September, October 2010. Whatever you have given to me is prior to September 2010," the judge told Singh.

Responding to the query Amar Singh said, "There was little time today.  So I could not get all the reports."

Rejecting the bail plea of all three, the judge said, "Grounds for interim bail in all three applications are similar as (those) for regular bail and will be considered at an appropriate stage. File reply."

"Accused Amar Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora are taken into custody and will be produced on September 19," the court added.

"Every application for bail will be decided after replies are filed because grounds for interim bail are same as in the regular bail," said the court while asking Delhi Police to file its reply to the bail pleas of the three.

Earlier, seeking interim bail for Singh, senior advocate Amrendra Sharan and advocate Hariharan said, "there is nothing in this case and there is high probability that ultimately the accused will not be convicted and they may even be discharged.”

"There is no apprehension that Singh will tamper evidence or abscond." Sharan, a former Additional Solicitor General, said he has also been cooperating with the Delhi Police during the investigations.

The defence counsel said that he has decided to appear before the court despite his ill health he and this "good conduct also calls for grant of bail."

The prosecution, however, told that court that the bail plea should be decided on the merits only and said if the plea is considered points like the standing of the accused in the society, gravity of offence and the ability to influence witnesses must be considered.

Right man in right place: CPI on Amar's arrest

In a strong reaction to the arrest of Amar Singh, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said "the
right man is in the right place" and it was an "eloquent testimony" to how the government was protecting "criminals".

"Since the cash-for-vote scam has gone to benefit the Congress, the Prime Minister, as the leader of the government, should clarify whose frontman Amar Singh was. He could not
have acted on his own," Dasgupta told reporters here.

He said the former SP general secretary's arrest was an "eloquent testimony of how the Government was protecting criminals. The man, who was given 'Z' category security by
this government, has had to go to jail. The right man is in the right place."

Amar lodged in 15X10 feet cell

Amar Singh was lodged in a 15X10 feet cell in Tihar Prisons after he was
sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Delhi court following his arrest in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam.

55-year-old Singh was brought to the Tihar Prisons, which currently houses four other MPs, in a police bus through gate number four this evening.

"He reached the jail premises at 6.25 PM. After entering the prison he was first taken to the jail hospital. It has been decided to keep him in jail number three," a jail official said.

"He will undergo a routine check-up and then he will be shifted to his cell. He will not share space with anyone," the official said.

This jail also houses former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda arrested in a multi-billion money laundering case.

Amar Singh is the fifth MP to be lodged inside Tihar Prisons after 2G scam accused Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A Raja, sacked CWG OC chairman Suresh
Kalmadi and former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda.

Singh has a 'single-occupancy' cell which is 15X10 feet in size and has a television set, he said.

Jail number three also houses Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma, both arrested for their alleged involvement in the CWG scam and Surendra Pipara, Hari Nair, Sharad Kumar, Sanjay Chandra, Vinod Goenka and Karim Morani all arrested in 2G spectrum
case.

UPA "real beneficiary": Opposition

The arrest of Amar Singh brought BJP and other opposition parties together to target
the UPA government and demand a deeper probe into its role in the cash-for-vote scam in 2008, alleging it was the "real beneficiary".

The Opposition also demanded that the source of money allegedly used to buy votes of MPs should be traced to provide clinching evidence in the case and asked at whose behest was
the former Samajwadi leader acting. Samajwadi party said Singh has been made a "scapegoat" by Delhi Police.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal rejected allegations UPA-1 Government was the beneficiary saying it did not need votes of three BJP MPs who claimed to have been bribed. He made it clear there was no need for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make a statement on the issue.

Congress on its part said due process of law was followed and that the arrest of Singh and others was the culmination of a "very closely monitored" probe by the Supreme Court.

Leading the charge against the Congress, BJP said no action has been initiated against the beneficiaries of the scam while those MPs who were whistle-blowers in the case were
arrested and sent to jail.

Describing the arrest of Singh as "a step in the right direction", BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, said initiating action against the whistle-blower MPs was
"completely mala fide".

Another spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain demanded a deeper probe into the scam, saying "now that it has been proved that the money was given to win the no-confidence motion."

Left parties wanted the government to explain at "whose behest" was Singh working at that time.

"At whose behest was he acting. That (UPA-I) government was headed by the Congress party. Who were the other leaders ... the Congress leaders involved, because at that time, it
was an open secret that so many MPs were being approached", CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said.

Samajwadi described the arrest of Singh as a "whitewash".

Arrests culmination of probe: Cong

Congress sought to absolve itself in the cash-for-vote scam that helped its government
survive in July 2008, suggesting that the arrests in the case including that of Amar Singh was the culmination of a Supreme Court monitored probe.

"People who like to have salicious and spicy interests in throwing things around should realize and have perhaps forgotten that the arrests we have seen today come at the
conclusion of a very closely monitored Apex Court investigation," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here.

"Fortunately the legal system is not based upon perceptions but on facts. ...this is your wrong conception that motive is seen in a case. Motive plays no role in criminal law, I say as a lawyer," he said when told that in people's perception UPA was the end beneficiary of the episode.

Noting that the court monitoring of the case was going on for almost two months or so, the Congress spokesperson also cautioned "when you make allegations about the motivated or
non-motivated nature of the arrest, you should be careful that you are not by implication making allegations against the Apex Court itself, which has monitored every aspect of it."

Law will take its own course: Somnath

Meanwhile, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who presided over the 2008 trust vote, hoped law will take its own course though he felt the investigation process into the cash-for-vote scam was a prolonged one.

Chatterjee was commenting on the arrest of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and two former BJP MPs in connection with the scam.

"It was the most improper and most reprehensible act of bribery on the Floor of the Lok Sabha. Though late, I hope the law will take its own course," Chatterjee, who had presided
over the July 22, 2008 trust vote in Parliament, sais in Kolkata on Tuesday.

"The investigation process was late and police action delayed," he said, adding that a proper inquiry should have been initiated immediately after the incident.

Chatterjee said whatever action he had taken on the issue was taken in a most humble way by him.

"I at once called a meeting of leaders of political parties, asked the three MPs (including Faggan Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora) to appear before me in my chamber and why
they did not inform me so that police could have been called," he said.

"It was a serious case of bribery and a shameful act and justice should be done in this case," he added.

(JPN/Agencies)