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'Cashgate money not from Bhopal'

'Cashgate money not from Bhopal'

Author: Times News Network
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 31, 2008

Introduction: House Panel Finding Belies Cong Claim, Says Cash Drawn From Many Places

As the committee of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday began its investigation into the cash-for-vote scam, its first tentative finding seemed to undercut Congress's assertion that the entire amount allegedly offered to three BJP MPs as advance of Rs 9 crore bribe to switch their votes had been taken out from the State Bank of Indore's New Market, Bhopal, branch.

Sources said the panel members who examined the slips on the wads of currency notes displayed by the three BJP MPs-Ashok Argal, Mahavir Bhagora and Faggan Singh Kulaste-found them to have been withdrawn from branches of banks in Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon and other places. Congress leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity, had emphasised the link of bundles of currency notes to BJPruled Madhya Pradesh to suggest that the whole scam had been stage-managed by the BJP to defame the UPA government.

Senior party leaders had even suggested that the money was ferried to the Capital on the eve of the trust vote at the instance of a BJP chief minister.

Significantly, while the panel favoured a comprehensive probe into the allegation which tainted UPA government's victory in trust vote, its members recognised that it might not be possible for them to quiz either Amar Singh or Ahmed Patel, since both were members of the Rajya Sabha, without the consent of its chairman.

The hearing by the panel coincided with V K Malhotra, deputy leader of BJP in the LS and party's representative on it, saying that he would approach the Speaker to expand the panel to make room for two more MPs from NDA-BJD's Brajkishore Tripathi and Shiv Sena's Anant Gite-along with CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta and NCP's Shriniwas Patil. The committee will meet next on July 4 and the three BJP MPs are likely to be summoned on July 7.

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