Rs 1 crore of cash-for-vote scam to go to PM Relief Fund: Court

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New Delhi, Sep 1: Cash worth Rs one crore seized from the accused in the 2008 'cash-for-vote' scam, in which ex-Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, three former BJP MPs and three others were discharged, should be deposited in PM's Relief Fund, a city court directed the police on Monday.

The court also said that the cash should be forfeited by the State as there was no claimant. According to the prosecution, Amar Singh's former aide Sanjeev Saxena was the one who had allegedly delivered the amount at the residence of then BJP MP Ashok Argal.

money

The court noted that all the seven accused who were chargesheeted stood discharged and nothing relating to the case was pending.

It said the Delhi High Court in its May 15 order discharging Saxena, the last accused, has not passed any direction regarding disposal of the case property.

"Thus, this court is within its competence to pass order on disposal of the aforesaid amount. I am of the considered opinion that in the absence of any claimant, the amount should be forfeited to the State.

"It is, accordingly, ordered that the amount of Rs one crore, which was the case property of the case, is forfeited. Investigating Officer (IO) is directed to deposit the amount in Prime Minister's Relief Fund and submit a copy of the receipt to this court," Special Judge Narottam Kaushal said.

The cash-for-vote scam pertains to the BJP MPs displaying wads of currency notes on the floor of the Lok Sabha during the July 22, 2008 trust vote after the Left parties withdrew support to the UPA-I government over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The court passed the order disposing of a plea by the Delhi Police's Crime Branch seeking disposal of case property.

"As per the charge sheet submitted in the case, the trail of money has not been established. IO has been unable to find out the person who had sent the aforesaid money to the house of Ashok Argal, the then BJP MP.

"The person who had carried the amount has declined any interest or claim therein. Ashok Argal, or the other MPs, BJP, of course, who were also discharged in the case, had never stated any claim to this amount," the court noted. 

The prosecutor said no proceedings were pending in any court regarding this FIR and the sole accused, who was facing trial, has been discharged by the high court in May.

The prosecutor also prayed that directions be issued for disposal of Rs one crore seized in the case. The court had also issued notice to Saxena, against whom charges were framed by it and was discharged by the high court, as according to the prosecution, it was he who had delivered the amount at Argal's residence.

In his response, Saxena had told the court that he does not claim the amount and had no interest in it. Of the seven accused, Saxena was the only person to be charged in the case by the trial court.

The other accused who were discharged by the trial court were former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, L K Advani's ex-aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, three former BJP MPs Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, and party activist Sohail Hindustani.

The court had discharged them for lack of evidence and had said their only intention was to disclose horse-trading.

PTI

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