NEW DELHI: Ending weeks of suspense after the cash-for-votes scandal rocked Lok Sabha during the July 22 trust vote, the private TV channel which had recorded the "sting" telecast on Monday the tapes showing three BJP MPs receiving Rs 1 crore from a person alleged to be associated with Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh.

Some 19 days after the final chapter of the sting was recorded, CNN-IBN telecast the tapes while claiming that it was not arriving at any conclusion over who was the guilty party in the reported attempt to bribe the BJP MPs — Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahaveer Bhagora — to vote for the Manmohan Singh government. In his response to the tapes, Amar Singh said he had not met the BJP MPs.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley gave many arguments in support of his claim that Sanjiv Saxena, the man who delivered cash to the MPs was an aide of Amar Singh. BJP demands probe into tapes The cash-for-votes tapes telecast by CNN-IBN do not show any of the MPs meeting SP leader Amar Singh, but raise a plethora of questions: about the delay in telecast; links between the SP leader and a certain Sanjiv Saxena, who delivered Rs 1 crore in cash; the "offer" of SP MP Reoti Raman Singh to act as an intermediary; and the video footage of a car with two BJP MPs entering the residence of Amar Singh. Amar Singh told the channel that he had not met the BJP MPs. But on July 22, he had claimed that he could not be so easily trapped by "political prostitutes".

Now, he defended himself by arguing that the BJP MPs could well have recorded their meeting with him if they were "so enterprising". He said Saxena had never been in his "direct employment". But seeking to punch holes in Amar Singh’s defence, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said unless Saxena was well-known to the SP leader's staff, there was no reason for them to connect him to Singh on July 22 morning. He said that a phone call had been made by Saxena when he delivered the money at Argal's residence.

The controversy may not yet die out with BJP calling for a thorough investigation, arguing that allegations that the MPs had "stung" themselves were hardly credible and had not been established in any way. Jaitley said Saxena's mobile was used to SMS media about Amar Singh's press conferences, he used a Gypsy registered at Singh's Greater Kailash residence and had given the leader's 27 Lodhi Estate residence as his place of work in his son's college admission form. While responding to the allegations, Amar Singh appeared on the defensive even as he claimed that he had nothing to do with the alleged attempt to bribe the BJP MPs. He insisted that he would not be trapped so easily and said there was a large posse of mediapersons outside his house and that he received many visitors.

A CNN-IBN team on Monday also deposed before the Lok Sabha panel probing the incident. The panel will examine Raman Singh and Saxena next. The channel said that it had presented its case to the panel and had now decided to telecast the tapes. The channel — which has come under fire from BJP for not airing the sting — said that it had decided to do so now after fulfiling its constitutional responsibility and to "end the speculation" without entering into the political battle. BJP had claimed that the channel had violated an understanding to telecast the sting on July 22 afternoon