PM’s speech in Parliament on MP bribery charges

As Hon’ble Members will recall, several members had raised allegations, based on reports in a newspaper, about purported cables from the US Embassy in New Delhi to their authorities in Washington. In response to the request from the Leader of the Opposition, I had made a statement on this subject in this House on March 18, 2011.

2. I reiterate that it is not possible for the Government of India to confirm the veracity or the contents of such communications. If they exist, they would be communications from U.S. diplomats stationed in Delhi to their government in Washington. It is not open to us to enquire from either of the two regarding the communications they exchanged among themselves. In my statement of 18th March, 2011 I had also stated that many of the persons referred in those communications have strongly denied their veracity.

3. In my statement, I had also referred to the issue raised regarding the offence of bribery. Apart from rejecting the allegation, I had also drawn the attention of this House to the fact that the allegations were investigated by a Committee constituted by the 14th Lok Sabha and the Committee had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to draw a conclusion of bribery.

4. I am convinced that taking the report as a whole, this is a correct inference.

5. While introducing the report in the House on 16th December, 2008, the then Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha, Shri Som Nath Chatterjee, had stated:

The finding of the Committee is that “material on record does not conclusively prove that the money contained in the bag, which was eventually displayed in the House, was actually sent by the persons who were alleged to have sent it for the purpose of winning over Shri Ashok Argal, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste and Shri Mahavir Bhagora to vote in favour of Motion of Confidence. The Committee have, however, found the evidence given before the Committee by three persons involved in this episode as unconvincing, and the Committee have suggested that their role in the matter needs to be investigated by investigating agencies.

6. I am accordingly, referring the matter pertaining to the said three persons to the Hon’ble Minister of Home Affairs for appropriate action in the light of the recommendations of the Committee.”

7. In its recommendations in paragraph 168 of the report, the Committee has observed as follows:-

“The Committee after taking into account their findings and conclusions in the matter (as detailed in para 141 particularly at (xiv to xvii) relating to roles of Shri Sanjeeva Saxena, Shri Suhaib Hindustani and Shri Sudheendra Kulkarni) recommend that this matter may be probed further by an appropriate investigating agency.”

8. The matter was referred to the Delhi Police for investigation. Further investigation is in progress.

Chairman Sir, 9. I leave it to the good sense of this House to decide for itself whether the report of the Committee in any way substantiates the wild allegations levelled by some Hon’ble Members of the Opposition.

10. I would like to make it clear once again that none from the Congress party or the government indulged in any such unlawful act during the trust vote in 2008. We have not been involved in any such transaction and we have not authorized any one to indulge in such transactions.