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Cash-for-votes scam probe by Delhi police to be completed soon

Home minister P Chidambaram said while the police investigates evidence including the forensic reports, allegations that a political party "engineered and manufactured" the sting operation would also be probed.

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Investigation by the Delhi police into allegations of cash-for-votes during the 2008 trust vote in Lok Sabha will be completed soon and the charge that a political party engineered the sting operation would also be probed, home minister P Chidambaram said today.

Participating in the short duration discussion on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the WikiLeaks expose, Chidambaram said, "Investigation is in progress and will be completed shortly."

He said while the police investigates evidence including the forensic reports, allegations that a political party "engineered and manufactured" the sting operation would also be probed.

Asserting that the probe would be thorough and taken to its logical conclusion, Chidambaram said that revelations have come that the sting operation by a television channel was not an independent journalistic exercise but a "deliberate attempt in collaboration with a political party."

Chidambaram, a noted lawyer, and leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley, also an eminent lawyer, clashed frequently on the prime minister's comment that there was no conclusive evidence by the parliamentary committee that votes were purchased for the trust vote.

The home minister sought to demolish the argument of BJP that the UPA government did not enjoy the confidence of the Lok Sabha and was reduced to a minority.

Without naming the BJP, Chidambaram said that according to allegations another political party was looking for buyers for their MPs for the so-called sting operation.

"This was deliberate attempt to destabilise a sitting government," he said adding that the UPA government enjoys the total confidence of the people "whatever sting operations (are done), whatever engineered."

Pointing out a conflicting role of the home minister, who is also in charge of the Delhi police investigating into the case, Jaitley said, "You are demolishing investigation of your own colleagues... You have created cover up..."

However, Chidambaram said that the police is responsible to the law of the land and not to an individual. "Police owes its obedience to law...not to man".

Chidambaram said the UPA government always enjoyed majority and it was the BJP which was trying to convert the majority into minority.

He said while Jaitley had tried to indict the ruling party with identifying targets (MPs) in the trust vote, there was an allegation that another political party was looking for buyers for their own MPs.

"This was a deliberate attempt to destabilise a sitting government," he said.

Chidambaram said there was a new "turn of events" and Siddarth Gautam, a journalist who was involved in the sting operation and had left the country, has given a statement on the same.

Disrupted frequently by BJP members, Chidambaram said the prime minister was not wrong when he (PM) said that the parliamentary panel on cash-for-vote episode had not reached any conclusive evidence about bribe being paid.

Chidambaram took the floor to argue with Jaitley to dismiss BJP's charge, presenting a court room atmosphere.

The panel, he said, found no evidence against Ahmad Patel, political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, and Samajwadi Party leader Revati Raman Singh.

The panel, he said, also found no conclusion of the veracity of allegations against former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar singh.

As for as the role of Sanjeev Saxena, supposedly an aide of Amar Singh, the home minister quoting the panel, said Saxena's role needed to be further investigated.

So was the role of Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former insider of BJP, and Suhail Hindustani, Chidambaram added.

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