Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh has contradicted the claim of senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan that he never met him, by saying that Bhushan used a plane chartered by Singh to Lucknow to plead a case for the Samajwadi Party.
Addressing a news conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Singh claimed that Bhushan had participated in a lawyer-client conference related to a Samajwadi Party case, when some BSP MLAs had joined it in 2006. Bhushan had used a private aircraft chartered by Singh to reach Lucknow to contest the case in the Bench of the Allahabad HC on February 28, 2006, said Singh.
“I was part of the conference where we discussed the case…he appeared twice for the party against BSP,” Singh said adding the former law minister had demanded 50 lakh for the case. Singh said Bhushan was initially paid 30 lakh in cash and the second installment of 20 lakh was handed over after he quoted a 25 lakh-fee per appearance.
“Shanti Bhushan does not remember many things because of his age.” Not stopping at that, the SP leader also took a dig at the octogenarian lawyer: “I hope Bhushan had mentioned the fees of 50 lakh in his tax returns.”
Also referring to news reports alleging that Bhushans had been allotted farmhouse plots in Noida by the Mayawati government at rates far below the market price, the former SP leader called for a probe into the matter. He claimed that the two plots of 10,000 sqm, each, were allotted to Shanti Bhushan and his son Jayant as a result of the latter appearing against Mayawati in the Noida statue park case.
The message behind Amar Singh’s innuendoes at Wednesday’s press conference was obvious. Singh, who is involved in a case relating to his illegally tapped conversations, is not only trying to question the suitability of the Bhushans to lead a crusade against corruption and be in the panel for drafting the Lokpal Bill , but is also contesting their eligibility to be amicus curae in the CD case against him as well as the 2G case being heard by the Supreme Court.
Amar Singh’s political rivals allege that Singh is acting on behalf of corporates embroiled in the 2G spectrum allotment scam, to get even with the Bhushans, given that Prashant is a key figure leading the challenge against spectrum allocation.
Singh’s verbal duel against the Bhushans started with circulation of a CD featuring purported conversations between Shanti Bhushan, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh. The CD suggests a promise by Bhushan to Yadav to have a judge ‘fixed’ for a price through his son Prashant.
The authenticity of the CD is in dispute. The Bhushans claim the CD has been doctored and conversations have been spliced. Bhushan has filed a contempt petition against Amar Singh in the Supreme Court. The Delhi Police is also looking into Bhushan’s complaint on the CD. Economic Times