New Delhi: Coming out in support of his estranged colleague Amar Singh, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday termed his questioning by Delhi Police in the 'cash-for- vote' scam as "injustice" and said he would help the Rajya Sabha MP to "sail through" the crisis.

However, the SP chief ruled out Amar Singh's return to the party, from which he was expelled last year.

"It is an injustice being meted out to Amar Singh. It is a conspiracy to trouble (SP Lok Sabha MP) Rewati Raman Singh and Amar Singh. He (Amar) helped Congress (during the 2008 trust vote) as Samajwadi Party voted in favour of the UPA. And now he is being questioned," Yadav told a press conference here.

He said Amar Singh was not involved in bribing of BJP MPs.

"We only helped by voting in their (Congress') favour. Did we join the government? Did Amar Singh or Rewati Singh become ministers? Had money changed hands, I would have known about it," a visibly upset Yadav said.

He said he would helpe the expelled party general secretary "in whatever way I can" to sail through the crisis. "We helped the government, now they (Rewati and Amar) are under probe," he said.

To a question, he ruled out the return of Singh to the party. "(We are) not taking him back...he is facing injustice," Yadav said.

In reply to a poser, Yadav refused to comment on whether Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress President, should also be questioned. "I don't know," he said.

Reacting to the summons issued to Rewati Raman and questioning of Amar Singh, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said it was "injustice" and a "conspiracy to trouble" both the Parliamentarians.

Yadav claimed said former SP leader Amar Singh was not involved in bribing of BJP MPs. "We only helped by voting in their (Congress') favour. Did we join the government? Did Amar Singh or Rewati Singh become ministers? Had money changed hands, I would have known about it," he claimed.

Investigators believe that Hindustani is the "master orchestrator" of the scam and he tried to entrap leaders of Samajwadi Party and it was this purpose that he telephoned Rewati Raman.

Police claimed that none of the Congress leaders or SP leaders mentioned by Hindustani had made any effort to contact him to strike a deal.

A Delhi Police officer has already visited Jalupura in Rajasthan to enquire about the local association of Hindustani. He used to stay there a few years back in a rented accommodation.

Hindustani's family had a long association with the BJP in the state and his grandfather known as Sageer Miyan worked in Tonk and Ajmer.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to find out how the money withdrawn from some bank accounts in Delhi found its way to the MPs.

The three BJP MPs -- Argal, Fagan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora -- had displayed wads of notes worth Rs one crore in Lok Sabha during the trust vote debate.

"We traced some of the account holders after checking the serial numbers of the currency with banks. We are investigating how it landed with the MPs. This will help us in unravelling the scam," the official said.

Rewati Raman to be quizzed on Monday

Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh will be quizzed on Monday by Delhi Police in connection with the cash-for-vote scam even as investigators
are trying to trace the money trail in the alleged bribing of BJP MPs ahead of the July 2008 trust vote.

Investigators are also preparing to question BJP MP Ashok Argal, who was allegedly given the bribe money, and BJP leader L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni this week before police submit its status report to Supreme Court this Friday.

"We have issued a notice to Rewati Raman Singh to appear before us tomorrow. We also plan to question Argal and Kulkarni before we submit the status report to Supreme Court. If something new comes up, Amar Singh may be called for questioning once again," a senior police official said.

Mulayam attacks Congress

With an eye on UP Assembly elections, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday launched a broadside against the Congress for adopting "anti-Muslim policies" and said in comparison, BJP was a "lesser evil" in dealing with minorities in the state.

"Whenever BJP has ruled, Muslims have not been been exploited... despite a couple of communal riots, their exploitation has been less," Yadav told a press conference here.

When asked whether he believed that the 2002 Gujarat riots could be termed as "minor issue", Yadav clarified that he was only referring to Uttar Pradesh and not the rest of India.

"They (BJP) have created problems in the country. The Gujarat Chief Minister himself carried out (2002 post-Godhra) riots as the party thought that it was the opportune moment to target Muslims," Yadav alleged.

Asked why BJP was better than Congress in dealing with minorities, the SP leader claimed that due to his party's strong base, the BJP was scared of exploiting minorities.

"But Congress is arrogant. It is not concerned about our protests. But we will tackle it," he said.

In a statement issued after the press conference, Yadav demanded booking Mumbai Police Crime Branch officials who picked up Faiz Usmani, the brother of an Ahmedabad blast accused Afzal Usmani, for murder.

Faiz was picked for questioning in connection with the July 13 triple bombings from his residence and was later rushed to hospital after he complained of uneasiness, where he died.

"They should be arrested immediately and the case should be probed by a high powered team of human rights commission," he said in the statement.

Virtually questioning the line of investigation of Mumbai Police in serial blasts, Yadav said people of the city were "not convinced" that real culprits have been arrested for the incidents.

To support his charge against the Congress, the SP leader referred to a report prepared by activist Harsh Mander on the issue.

Quoting from the report, Yadav said Congress was scared of using the term Muslim fearing BJP could exploit the issue to snatch Hindu votes from that party.

He claimed that instead of disbursing funds to Muslims, the Minorities Affairs Ministry works "as an obstacle" in the process.

"Despite reports by several committees on the state of Muslims, Congress governments have failed to implement them. I demand the Prime Minister to provide more facilities to Muslims. It will help you get more votes and I don't mind that," Yadav said.

Against the backdrop of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi supporting the cause of artisans, Yadav said his party will also support any plan by the central government in helping the community - most of them being Muslims - so that they can earn more money by exporting their items.

When asked about Rahul Gandhi's political plans for UP, he said he was a youth with his own "style of functioning".

"How he works, you will come to know," he said referring to the assembly elections due early next year. He claimed that Congress leaders in UP were only limited to TV debates and newspapers and were not present at the grassroots level.

Yadav ducked questions on the removal of Darul Uloom Deoband's Vice Chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi. "It is their internal matter...," he said.

'RLD should merge with SP'

In a major setback to Ajit Singh's plans to form an alliance ahead of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Rashtriya Lok Dal leader should merge his party with Samajwadi Party.

"We will contest the elections alone in UP...Ajit Singh should forgive me for saying this but he is restricted to only three districts (in UP)...he should merge his party with SP," Yadav said.

Though not specifying the districts he was referring to, Yadav agreed Singh had a good hold in these districts.

"We have the same background. He will become a big leader and will command respect," Yadav said.

Asked if Singh could be offered the post of the Chief Minister, if SP wrests power from BSP, he said the issue would be decided by the MLAs.

SP and RLD were alliance partners in UP government in 2003. But Ajit Singh broke the alliance and contested the last Lok Sabha elections with BJP.

While SP has 88 MLAs, RLD has 10 MLAs in the 403-member state legislative Assembly.

(JPN/Agencies)