Government protecting corrupt ministers: Advani


New Delhi: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Monday slammed the central government for “having no qualms” in jailing whistle blowers while doing “its utmost” to protect the corrupt.

Support TwoCircles

He said his former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and two former party MPS who are in jail over the cash-for-vote scam had rendered “signal service to democracy” as whistle blowers.

“It is indeed shocking to find that the ruling party these days is exerting its utmost to protect corrupt ministers but has no qualms putting whistle blowers behind bars,” Advani said in his latest blog posting.

He was referring to his former aide of many years Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was sent to the Tihar Jail for his role in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam.

Advani and Arun Jaitely had gone to meet Kulkarni and two former party MPs – Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora – in the Tihar Jail. The two MPs were arrested Sep 6 in the case.

In his blog, Advani recalled that the Manmohan Singh cabinet approved a bill which protects whistle blowers based on the Law Commission’s report submitted to the government in December 2001. The bill was later introduced in the Lok Sabha.

“The bill has not become law as yet. But the cabinet having approved of it, government should feel committed to its core principle,” he said.

The former deputy prime minister said his former aide and the two former BJP MPs had “rendered a signal service to democracy by blowing the whistle to expose how in 2008 crores were given as bribes to Lok Sabha MPs to cross vote in favour of the Congress”.

He was referring to the July 22, 2008, trust vote in parliament when Kulaste, Bhagora and another BJP MP Ashok Argal waved wads of currency notes on the floor of the Lok Sabha, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government. A case was registered in 2009 on the recommendation of a parliamentary panel that probed the scandal.

Advani said the cross-voting enabled the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to win a vote of confidence even after the Left parties withdrew their outside support to the government over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

“Along with Ashok Argal, the third BJP MP who was approached by the UPA, the three were offered 3 crores each, and paid Rs.1 crore in advance,” he said.

Quoting a WikiLeaks report on the events surrounding the trust vote, Advani said the central government “not only indulged in massive bribery to buy MPs to its side, but had no shame flaunting its dirty plans before US embassy officials only to reassure that the UPA government was not going to fall, and that the Indo-US nuclear deal will go through.”

Delhi Police have described Kulkarni as the mastermind of the cash-for-votes operation. Kulkarni, however, maintains that he acted as a whistleblower and a political activist in 2008 when he persuaded the three BJP MPs to put themselves on the political market ahead of the trust vote.