Cash-for-votes: Kulkarni, four others walk out of Tihar

Kulkarni and former MPs Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora were granted bail by the Delhi High Court Wednesday on the grounds that there was no evidence to support their involvement in the illegal gratification that rocked parliament ahead of a trust vote.

The court had also granted bail to Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh's former aide Sanjeev Saxena and alleged political activist Suhail Hindustani. "All five of them have been released," says Deputy Inspector General of Tihar R.N. Sharma told IANS. All of them were lodged in jail number three.

As the three BJP leaders came out of the high-security jail, a large number of BJP supporters chanted slogans and garlanded them. Flowers were showered on them, as many danced in celebration on drum beats.

Speaking to media persons outside the jail, Kulkarni said: "Today, I got freedom (from jail). We had faith on the judiciary." "But the entire truth has yet to come out. But who were the beneficiaries will be eventually come out in the public. Our struggle is on," he said.

He thanked the senior BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani and Nitin Gadkari for supporting them. On coming out of the jail, Bhagora said he would expose corrupt people in future too. "I am fighting for the party and truth and there is no personal agenda," he said.

The BJP had termed the arrests of the three BJP leaders as "unfortunate", saying that while the whistle blowers were put in jail, the beneficiaries of the cash-fo-vote scam was yet to be established.

On July 22, 2008, Ashok Argal, Kulaste and Bhagora, all sitting MPs then, waved wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha just hours ahead of a trust vote, alleging they were given the money to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government.

Kulkarni has been charged as co-conspirator and master-minding the entire event along with then Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, who had earlier been granted bail. Saxena was accused of delivering Rs.1 crore to Kulaste, Bhagora and Argal under an alleged conspiracy to buy their votes for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in the trust motion.

Hindustani, the alleged "main initiator" of the cash-for-vote scam, took two BJP MPs to Amar Singh's house to strike a deal on the vote of confidence in 2008, Delhi Police had said in its chargesheet.

On Wednesday, the court had granted anticipatory bail to Argal, a sitting BJP MP, and directed him to appear before the court concerned. Police have received Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's nod to proceed against Argal.

The court has also reserved its order on the anticipatory bail plea of Samajwadi Party leader Rewati Raman Singh, who was recently summoned as an accused by the trial court.

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