Advani’s former aide sent to tihar jail in cash-for-votes scam case.

Sudheendra KulkarniNew Delhi:  A Delhi court ordered the arrest of senior BJP leader LK Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and sent him to Tihar jail on Tuesday after he made his maiden court appearance in the July 2008 cash-for-votes scam case.

Special judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal tuned down Kulkarni’s plea for temporary bail, saying it was ‘devoid of merit’. The court will hear his regular bail plea on Saturday.

The Delhi Police chargesheet assumed that Kulkarni masterminded the conspiracy to bribe 3 BJP MPs with Rs1 crore each to vote for the UPA-1 government during a confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008.

Kulkarni told reporters later, “My role in the entire matter was that of a whistle-blower. Along with my associates, three BJP MPs and Suhail Hindustani, I attempted to expose the purchase of MPs for securing victory in the confidence vote by the then government in the Lok Sabha.”

“There cannot be a charge of entrapment against whistle-blowers when there is a charge of bribe-giving against others,” said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, in defence of Kulkarni.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said that the court order justified his party’s stand on the issue. “The court has proved that the BJP was involved in destablising a duly elected government.”

The scandal dates back to July 22, 2008 when a stunned nation saw TV pictures of BJP MPs Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora displaying wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha, claiming they had been offered bribes of Rs1 crore each to vote for the government during the confidence motion after the Left parties withdrew outside support over the India-US nuclear deal.

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