New Delhi, Nov 14: The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on bail pleas of six persons including two former BJP MPs and L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni in the 2008 cash-for-vote case with the police saying it did not object to their applications as the probe was over.
The counsel for Delhi police intervened when one of the defence lawyers was arguing and said “the honourable court may consider granting bail to all the six accused who have filed their bail applications in the court.”
The faces of defence lawyers lit up when prosecutor Pawan Sharma told Justice M L Mehta that “Ashok Argal (a sitting BJP MP) has already joined the investigation on July 25 this year and moreover, the final report has also been filed. The bail applications could be considered.”
The court was hearing the applications of five jailed accused—former BJP law makers Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, Kulkarni, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh's former aide Sanjeev Saxena and alleged BJP activist Suhail Hindustani, who were denied bail by the lower court.
Besides them, Argal, who has so far not been arrested, has sought grant of anticipatory bail in the case. Justice Mehta, after hearing arguments for nearly two hours on behalf of the six accused, reserved his orders for Novemver 16.
Meanwhile, the court would tomorrow hear the anticipatory bail plea of Samajwadi Party leader Rewati Raman Singh who has been summoned as an accused by the trial judge recently.
During the hearing, senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for an accused, said “no criminal motive could be attributed in the case as it was a sting operation which was conducted to expose the horse trading and not to get illegal gratification.”
The sting operation was planned to expose the malice of horse-trading and the whistle blower MPs got themselves “bugged” to catch the culprits, Singh said, adding “instead of being made witnesses, they have been made accused and put behind bars.”
“The moment it is established that a sting was planned then there cannot be any mens-rea (criminal motive) on their part that they wanted to get illegal gratification,” he said.
Opposing the plea of police that BJP MPs did not inform police about the incident, the defence lawyer said “sting cannot be conducted if police is informed in advance and, moreover, it was quite natural for MPs to inform the Lok Sabha Speaker about it.
“In any case, nothing had stopped the police from probing the case as the whole nation watched the incident live on TV.” Singh also referred to the statements of journalists of the news channel to drive home the point that it was a genuine sting operation.
The audio-video tapes of the sting have been found to be genuine and this has been proved in forensic tests, he said. Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Kulaste and Bhagora, said “the BJP MPs along with the journalists of a news channel planned the sting operation to expose the scam then why the MPs are being made accused and scribes are made witnesses?”
Kulkarni is in jail since September 27 while Bhagora and Kulaste were arrested along with former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh on September 6 in the case. Hindustani and Saxena were arrested on July 17 after the Supreme Court pulled up police for its tardy probe.
The Delhi High Court had on October 24 granted bail to Amar Singh on health grounds but restrained him from leaving the country without its permission.