Former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman convicted in fake arms deal sting case

   Apr 27, 3:34 pm

New Delhi, April 27 (ANI): Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Bangaru Laxman was convicted on Friday under the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with a 2001 Tehelka sting related to a fake arms deal.

A special pecial Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court convicted Bangaru Laxman and announced that sentencing would take place on Saturday.

Special CBI Court Judge Kanwaljeet Arora placed Laxman in judicial custody soon after issuing orders to convict him.

Laxman broke down in court after the verdict was announced.

News portal Tehelka.com's founder-editor Aniruddha Bahal expressed happiness at the verdict pointing out that he and his team were harassed by the then central government for carrying out the sting operation in which Laxman was caught on camera accepting money from fake arms dealers.

"It's a relief that our story has been proved right. There was a judicial commission put on us. They investigated the people who brought out this story. We were harassed," said Bahal.

The video CDs, which were released by Tehelka on March 13, 2001, and it sparked off a political storm that led to Laxman quitting as BJP president.

Journalists involved in the sting operation posed as representatives of a fictitious UK-based company West End International and sought Laxman's recommendation to the defence ministry to facilitate the supply of hand-held thermal imagers for the Indian Army.

As per the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheet, Tehelka journalists held eight meetings with Laxman between December 23, 2000, and January 7, 2001, projecting themselves as supplier of defence-related products.

The CBI had alleged that Laxman accepted Rs 1 lakh from the representatives of the purported firm on January 1, 2001, at his office for pursuing their proposal to supply certain products to the army.

Laxman was booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. His former personal secretary T Satyamurthy, who was a co-accused, was granted pardon by a trial court after he turned approver in the case. (ANI)

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