Ahmed Patel defends self, Cong in MP bribe scandal

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New Delhi, Jul 22 (UNI) Congress leader and political secretary to AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel today defended himsef as well as his party following allegations of his involvement in allegedly paying money to BJP MPs to abstain from trust vote in Lok Sabha this evening.

''It is a conspiracy to malign me and my party...the alegations are baseless,'' he said.

To a poser, Patel said a probe only could clear doubts. ...''And if my name appears in the probe, I will quit public life,'' he told reporters.

Mr Patel, while replying to a question, said as a public figure he received several phone calls. ''Mr Amar Singh could have called me. But this does not mean we spoke about bribing MPs to win the trust vote.'' He also denied suggestions that he had authorised anyone to speak with MPs on his behalf. ''It is not true,'' he added.

Lok Sabha BJP member Ashok Argal had earier alleged that Mr Patel had offered him a ''bribe'' of Rs one crore yesterday to abstain from trust vote.

He said along with a few more MPs, he decided to expose the people behind the bribe when a person came to his house with the offer, and so they agreed to talk to him further.

''We were called to Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh's house in the morning where he arranged for a telephonic conversation with Mr Patel, who said that Rs 1 crore would be given in advance and the rest after the trust vote,'' he told the media in the Parliament precincts.

''We told him that money should be delivered at 4, Ferozshah road to which he agreed,'' Mr Argal added.

The Lok Sabha plunged into chaos when he placed wads of currency notes in the secretariat table of the ower house.

Apparently unnerved by the unprecedented event in the House, Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, who was in the Chair, left without adjourning it, bringing the proceedings to an abrupt halt.

Immediately thereafter, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also left.

However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, along with ministers, sat through the chaotic scenes.

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