New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday framed graft and criminal conspiracy charges against 11 former parliamentarians in the infamous 2005 cash-for-query scam.
Special Judge Kiran Bansal put the 11 former MPs and an individual on trial, which will commence from January 12.
The former MPs accused in the case are Y G Mahajan (BJP), Chhatarpal Singh Lodha (BJP), Anna Saheb M K Patil (BJP), Manoj Kumar (RJD), Chandra Pratap Singh (BJP), Ram Sewak Singh (Congress), Narender Kumar Kushwaha (BSP), Pradeep Gandhi (BJP), Suresh Chandel (BJP), Lal Chandra Kol (BSP) and Raja Rampal (BSP).
A sting operation against the then MPs was conducted by two journalists which was telecast on a private news channel on December 12, 2005. The sting, which showed them taking cash for raising questions in Parliament, came to be known as the cash-for-query scam.
In December 2005, the Lok Sabha had expelled 10 members, while Lodha was removed from the Rajya Sabha. The prosecution had relied upon the CDs/DVDs containing conversations among the accused and others.
The court also framed charges against Rampal’s then PA, Ravinder Kumar, special public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava said.
The proceedings against one of an accused, Vijay Phogat, have been abated as he has passed away. Phogat was alleged to be a middleman.
The court framed charges against the accused for the offences of criminal conspiracy under the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It had on August 10 ordered framing of charges against them but could not frame charges due to repeated non-appearance of the accused who repeatedly sought exemption from appearance.
The charge sheet was filed by the Delhi Police in 2009.
Besides the ex-Parliamentarians, two journalists were also charge-sheeted for allegedly abetting the offence under the anti-graft law and were summoned by the trial court. But the proceedings against them were quashed by the Delhi High Court.