High-profile politician Amar Singh was today arrested and lodged in Tihar Jail in a sensational twist in the cash-for-vote scam that rocked Parliament three years ago when he made a dramatic appearance in a local court shortly after claiming to be ill.
55-year-old Singh was denied bail and arrested after Special Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days in the case in which he has been chargesheeted by Delhi Police following Supreme Court's displeasure over the "shoddy" probe.
The arrest came when the former Samajwadi Party appeared a couple of hours after pleading for exemption from personal appearance on medical grounds.
The court also rejected bail to former BJP MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, who too appeared before the court responding to its summons for their alleged role in the scam that was seen as an attempt to bribe MPs for their vote in support of the confidence motion after the Left parties withdrew support to the government on the nuclear deal.
BJP leader L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, who has also been chargesheeted in the case, did not appear in the court today as he is stated to be abroad.
With the arrest of Amar Singh, who has since been expelled from the Samajwadi Party, Opposition parties including BJP, Left and the SP have demanded that the police trace the source of the bribe and the beneficiary of the bribes.
Armed with his medical reports, Singh made a fervent plea to the court to grant him bail saying that he has only recently undergone a kidney transplant in Singapore and required intensive round the clock medicare.
"I lost my kidneys and I am now living on borrowed kidneys. There are hazards of being in public life and there is infection in my urinary track which is dangerous for my borrowed kidney," said Singh.
However, the judge, after going through the medical reports submitted by Singh to her, said the documents do not show his medical history after September 2010.
"What has been your (Amar Singh's) medical history since September, October 2010. Whatever you have given to me is prior to September 2010," the judge told Singh.
Responding to the query Amar Singh said, "There was little time today. So I could not get all the reports."
Rejecting the bail plea of all the three accused, the judge said "Grounds for interim bail in all three applications are similar as (those) for regular bail and will be considered at an appropriate stage. File reply."
"Accused Amar Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora are taken into custody and will be produced on September 19," the court added.
"Every application for bail will be decided after replies are filed because grounds for interim bail are same as in the regular bail," said the court while asking Delhi Police to file its reply to the bail pleas of the three.
Earlier, seeking interim bail for Singh, senior advocate Amrendra Sharan and advocate Hariharan said "there is nothing in this case and there is high probability that ultimately the accused will not be convicted and they may even be discharged.
"There is no apprehension that Singh will tamper evidence or abscond."
Sharan, a former Additional Solicitor General, said he has also been cooperating with the Delhi Police during the investigations.
The defence counsel said that he has decided to appear before the court despite his ill health he and this "good conduct also calls for grant of bail."
The prosecution, however, told that court that the bail plea should be decided on the merits only and said if the plea is considered points like the standing of the accused in the society, gravity of offence and the ability to influence witnesses must be considered.
Before being taken to jail, Amar Singh moved a fresh interim bail plea on health grounds.
Arguing his own case, he told the court that he was suffering from kidney ailment and gave an assurance that he would not flee or tamper with evidence if enlarged on bail.
"I am really not well. My body needs good care like regular dialysis, blood tests, medication and all that. I am not going to flee and I am not going to tamper with any evidence. I am fully cooperating," he said.
"I have not used my so-called influence on any witness. the Principle of law is that a person is not guilty unless it has been proved," he argued.
The judge replied "all the accused are placed guilty".
He maintained that he could not be placed equally with other accused as his case was different because of health grounds.
Meanwhile, the BJP, whose two former MPs were also sent to jail today, objected to the arrest of its "whistle blower" MPs and demanded a deeper probe into the role of Congress which was the "real beneficiary" of the trust vote.
The Left parties wanted the government to explain at "whose behest" was Amar Singh working at that time. The Samajwadi Party said Amar Singh was being made the "scapegoat" in the scam by the Delhi Police.
"This is nothing but a whitewash by Delhi Police following the strictures from the Supreme Court," the party said.
The Congress, however, rejected the charges and said those claiming that the arrests were "motivated" were by implication making allegations against the Supreme Court under whose monitoring the investigation was going on.
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