'08 Cashscam: Delhi Police Fails to Trace Money Trail
The Delhi Police today told a court that it did not find any "clue" about the money trail in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam case in which Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and two other BJP leaders have been chargesheeted.
The Delhi Police made the submission in an additional charge sheet filed before Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, over a month after the court on October 15, directed it to "investigate from all angles" and trace the source of money in the case.
The court's order had come on a plea by BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Faggan Singh Kulaste, an accused in the case, seeking further probe in the matter to trace the source of money and the beneficiaries of the deal to pay the BJP's "vulnerable" MPs to vote in favour of the UPA government.
In the fresh charge sheet, the police gave details about its further probe during which Amar Singh was again quizzed and the editor-in-chief and the reporter of a TV news channel, which conducted the sting operation, too joined the investigation.
Police in its report further said that advertisements were published in newspapers in several cities to get information about an unidentified person, who had allegedly carried the currency notes delivered to politicians.
The police said Singh was interrogated again on November 14 to find out the money trail and to establish the identity of the person in yellow shirt. "However, no clue could be gathered during his interrogation," it said.
The chargesheet quoted Amar Singh as claiming that Saxena was "an employee of HFCL Ltd and was not his employee."
"Singh volunteered to convey a message to Vinay Maloo, the then director HFCL Ltd and he got in touch with police so that his statement could be recorded," the chargesheet said.
On November 17, Maloo called from England and said he wanted to get his statement recorded on telephone regarding employment of Sanjeev Saxena with HFCL ltd in 2008.
The said caller was told that since it was not possible to verify his identity on phone, he should send a written statement duly attested by the Indian High Commission, London. Maloo agreed and the statement is awaited.
On November 14, Amar Singh's Private Assistant Geetanjali Dutta and his PSO Pradeep Kumar was also interrogated. However, no further clue regarding the money trail or identity of the person in yellow shirt could be established, the police charge sheet said.
It added "accused Sanjeev Saxena was also interrogated again on October 26 to get more details about the identity of person in yellow shirt and his whereabouts but he could not provide any further clue."
It added he could not provide any information or details on the money trail.
The police also said in the charge sheet that the editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN also joined investigation on November 8 and submitted that before complete facts could be checked and further corroboration of story could be conducted by the company, three BJP MPs raised the issue in Parliament to make public the fact that the subject matter of the sting has been recorded by CNN-IBN.
He also said that "while we interviewed several people who were part of the sting, a complete investigation into the source of the money was compromised by revelation in Parliament."
On probe regarding the identity of the man in yellow shirt, police said since the audio/ video recordings of sting were not of good quality, photograph of person wearing yellow shirt was also not of good quality.
"Efforts were made to develop proper still photographs having identifiable features of that person making further efforts to trace him," the police said.
The police said that on October 22, NIA was requested to prepare a clear photograph of the person wearing the yellow shirt as seen in the video recordings dated July 22, 2008, with accused Sanjeev Saxena at the time of delivery of Rs one crore at 4, Feroze Shah road here.
It said that after preparing the photographs, advertisements were released containing the same making a request to the general public to help identify and trace the person.
The police said the advertisements were published in various English and Hindi dailies in Delhi, Jaipur, Mangalore, Ahmedabad, Mysore, Chennai, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Patna and Kolkata.
The advertisements were also published in dailies in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Siliguri and Bhagalpur.
"In response to the advertisements some responses were received from the general public but none of these proved helpful," the police said in the supplementary charge sheet.
The probe agency also said it also interrogated Siddharth Gautam, the CNN-IBN reporter regarding interview of three BJP MPs on July 22, 2008 recorded at 4, Firoz Shah road after accused Sanjeev Saxena and the person in yellow shirt left the place after delivering Rs one crore.
"During interrogation, it was found that interview of three MPs was not part of the sting by channel and interviews were recorded after sting was over even though the channel had the opportunity to interview the MPs while Sanjeev Saxena and the person in yellow shirt were in the premises," police said.
Hence it is clear that the interview recorded was an afterthought, it added.
The probe was ordered after Kulaste had raised the issue of an unidentified man in a yellow shirt who, he said, can be seen in the controversial CD, and contended that the police had not tried to trace him even as he could be seen actively using his cellphone to contact Amar Singh from accused Ashok Argal's house.
The court had then said, "It is impressed upon the investigating agency to make sincere efforts to trace the identity of the man wearing yellow shirt as seen in the video footage...And to unearth the hidden truth, if any contained in the DVD seized last year."
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