New Delhi: Making the second arrest in the 2008 'cash-for-votes' scam, Delhi Police on Wednesday took into custody Suhail Hindustani, who had allegedly acted as a liaison between Amar Singh and BJP MPs sought to be bribed.

Hindustani was arrested under Prevention of Corruption Act after seven hours of grilling by the Crime Branch about his role in the sensational case that rocked the country when the previous UPA government was seeking trust vote.

The probe by Delhi Police, which was slammed by Supreme Court last week for its "callous" approach in this case, is set to be expanded with Amar Singh expected to be questioned soon.

Questioning of BJP MP Ashok Argal, who was allegedly sought to be bribed, and BJP leader L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who had allegedly organised a sting operation to trap the bribe-givers, is also likely take place.

Police had summoned Hindustani for questioning today after it arrested Sanjeev Saxena, once considered close to Singh, for allegedly delivering cash to three BJP MPs.

Before appearing for questioning, Hindustani sought to drag Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the cash-for-vote scam by saying he had got calls from people close to them.

"I received calls from Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel (Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi). Those close to Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) called me and even from 10-Janpath (Gandhi's residence)," claimed Hindustani to reporters before being questioned.

He, however, did not not identify all those who allegedly called him.

Before entering the police complex, Hindustani said he would tell police whatever he had told the Parliamentary Committee which probed the cash-for-vote scam.

Asked what he had told the Committee, he alleged that Amar Singh told him that he was working on Prime Minister's directions along with Ahmed Patel to save the government.

"People could not believe that Manmohan Singh and Congress party could stoop to this level to save the government," he said, alleging that the operation was done by Amar Singh and some Congress leaders.

He said police should examine his call records, which he claimed would throw light on who all who called him between July nine and 22 of 2008.

"I challenge them. These people tried to bribe me. They asked me why are you aligned with BJP? Is your life going haywire? Come, align with us and we will give you some big posts like Chairmanship. They told me that if you get one MP, we will give you Rs 5-10 crore as commission," he claimed.

Delhi Police has also sought the views and directions of Home Ministry with regard to questioning Amar Singh and Argal.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner B K Gupta met senior Home Ministry officials.

Rajya Sabha Secretariat said there was no need for its permission to question Singh, a member of the Upper House.

Rajya Sabha Secretary General V K Agnihotri told PTI, "no permission for interrogation of Amar Singh has been sought from the Chairman of Rajya Sabha (Hamid Ansari). So the question of giving permission does not arise."
   
According to law, an MP can be questioned and even arrested if the allegation of committing a crime outside Parliament without seeking permission of the chair of the House.


Prepared to be quizzed: Kulkarni

After the arrest of two persons named by the parliamentary probe into the cash-for vote allegations, L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, whose role had also come under the scanner, on Wednesday said he was ready for questioning by Delhi Police in the case.

"I have already been interrogated twice by the Delhi Police on the sting operation. The last one was ten days ago when I was called to Chanakyapuri police station by the Delhi crime branch. This was a day before the Supreme Court made the remarks about the investigations," Kulkarni said.

The Supreme Court had pulled up the Delhi police on July 15 for the slow pace of investigations into the cash-for-vote scam.

A sting operation carried out by Kulkarni and Suhail Hindustani, a former BJP youth wing activist, with the help of a news channel purportedly showed a bribe of Rs one crore each being offered to three BJP MPs to seek their support in the rust vote in Parliament in July 2008.
   
A seven-member parliamentary panel had probed the allegations and asked the Delhi Police to investigate the role of Sanjeev Saxena, once considered close to former SP leader Amar Singh, Hindustani and Kulkarni.

While Saxena was arrested on July 17, Suhail was taken into custody today after seven hours of questioning.

"If I am called again I will certainly go. If they feel I should be interrogated again I am prepared for it," Kulkarni said.

Asked if the police have contacted him after the Supreme Court criticised the Delhi Police for making no progress in the case, he replied in the negative.

(Agencies)