New Delhi: A Delhi Court Saturday awarded four years’ rigorous imprisonment to former Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) president Bangaru Laxman for accepting a bribe from a fake arms dealer in a 10-year-old graft case. The court also slapped him with a fine of Rs.1 lakh.
Additional Sessions Judge Kanwaljeet Arora handed down the sentences after holding him guilty Friday an d sending him to judicial custody.
Arora, who is also special CBI judge, pronouncing the sentence, said: “Balancing the twin interest of the society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that interest of justice would be met if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and to pay a fine of Rs.1 lakh for the offence under section 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act.”
The case dates to 2001, when newsportal tehelka.com carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving money from a journalist posing as an arms dealer. He later resigned as the BJP chief.
Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for promise of assistance to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International in securing a contract for the supply of thermal imagers to the Indian Army.
A Delhi court May 2011 framed corruption charges against Laxman. The CBI, in its charge sheet, said that Laxman accepted Rs.1 lakh from the representatives of the purported firm in 2001 at his office for pursuing their proposal to supply certain products to the army.
“Tehelka portal scribes, impersonating as representatives of West End International, had held eight meetings with Laxman between Dec 23, 2000, and Jan 7, 2001, projecting themselves as suppliers of defence-related products,” said the charge sheet.
However, Laxman had said that the investigations of the case were politically motivated and were not conducted in fair manner.
Alleging that the Congress party had funded this sting operation, Laxman said: “Congress party did use the Tehelka tapes in the general elections held in 2004, which goes on to establish that it was Congress party or the persons having interest therein, who funded this project, wherein I was framed… I never had any disposition to commit any offence.”