Amar Singh sent to Tihar jail

Bail appeal turned down; judge not impressed with Singh citing 'medical' reasons for not appearing in court on time

Amid high drama at Delhi court on Tuesday, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh was sent to judicial custody in Tihar Jail till September 19. In the infamous 2008 cash-for-vote scam, Singh's appeal for anticipatory bail was turned down by the court. Earlier in the morning, Singh did not appear before the court as scheduled, citing health reasons. Around 2pm, however, he made a dramatic entry after he apparently saw news channels.

Ill at ease! Amar Singh at the Tees Hazari court in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Pic/Imtiyaz Khan

Singh's lawyer argued in the court that his kidney was transplanted last year and, he was not feeling well enough to come. He then asked for two days' extension. The judge, Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, didn't seem too pleased by the lawyer's response and said it was not a satisfactory explanation after a year-long gap.
The lawyer then pleaded that Singh had a right to bail, as even though charged with conspiracy to abetment, he had not done anything. The lawyer said Singh never tampered with any evidence, and was not arrested as he always cooperated with the enforcement agencies.

The judge, however, was not impressed. Around 2 pm, Singh suddenly appeared in the court and said, "I have great faith in the judiciary. I came here against medical advice. At home, I saw news channels and was disturbed when they said I was hiding."

Judge Sehgal said she needed more proof of Singh's illness. "What has been Singh's medical history since September, October 2010? Whatever you have given to me is prior to September 2010," she said. Around 4 pm, Singh was sent to Tihar Jail on the accusation of bribing three MPs to support Dr Manmohan Singh during a trust vote in 2008. The MP has now filed another bail application scheduled to be heard on September 8.  In this application, Singh's lawyer will be further clarifying about his health's condition. In addition, doctors who handled Singh's kidney transplant in Singapore may also testify in Delhi on his behalf.

"My client is in delicate health and needs to frequently go abroad for medical assistance," he said. In July 2008, the Left pulled out of the UPA government over Dr Singh's civil nuclear deal with the US and 62 MPs exited the government. The PM had to prove he had a majority and so a trust vote was held. On July 22, hours before the vote, three BJP MPs arrived in the Lok Sabha brandishing wads of notes amounting to Rs 1 crore, claiming it was an advance from Singh, delivered through middlemen.

The court also rejected the bail application of former Bharatiya Janata Party members of parliament, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora, who also appeared before the court in response to the summons for their alleged role in the episode.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, former aide of BJP leader LK Advani, who has also been charge-sheeted in the case, did not appear in the court today and his lawyer requested the court for time as, Kulkarni is abroad.

Rejecting the bail plea of all three accused, the judge said, "The grounds for interim bail in all three applications are similar as (those) for regular bail and will be considered at an appropriate stage. The accused Amar Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahabir Singh Bhagora are taken into custody and will be produced on September 19."

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