Cash-for-vote scam: Lawyer names Ahmed Patel as bribe giver

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Old 20-Sep-2011
Cash-for-vote scam: Lawyer names Ahmed Patel as bribe giver

New Delhi: Lawyer Ram Jethmalani Monday accused senior ruling Congress party leader Ahmad Patel of giving the bribe in the cash for vote scam.

Appearing on behalf of Rajya Sabha lawmaker Amar Singh, a prime accused in the cash for vote scam case, Jethmalani informed a local court that Patel who is political secretary of the Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, had handed over the money that was paid to three opposition lawmakers to bail out the Manmohan Singh government in July 2008 trust vote.

"The place of receipt of the bribe was not Amar Singh's home, but Le Meridien Hotel. The person to pay the bribe was not Mr Amar Singh but obviously Mr Ahmad Patel, an MP and a very influential member of the party whose government was to be saved," Jethmalani said.

Terming Patel as the bribe giver, Jethmalani said, "I am not suggesting that Patel, on this piece of evidence, should be convicted, but if you are influencing MPs of other parties on behalf of your party, then you are the bribe giver."

Amar Singh was taken into custody on September 6 when he appeared in the court and sent to Tihar Central Jail. He was, however, granted interim bail on Thursday based on medical reports that stated that Singh, who had undergone a kidney transplant operation in the recent past, was in a critical condition. He continues to be lodged in a private ward of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he was rushed from the Tihar Jail.

Interestingly, Jethmalani himself is a Rajya Sabha member belonging to the principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Jethmalani had stunned his party members by informing the court that the bribe money could belong to the BJP itself since the bribe takers belonged to the BJP and the then Leader of Opposition Lal Krishna Advani had said that the sting operation was carried out with his knowledge.

While it was clarified that Jethmalani had made the statement before the court in his personal capacity and not as a BJP lawmaker, he took a U-turn Monday while arguing for regular bail for Amar Singh.

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