M A I N   N E W S

CBI books Laxman, Jaya in Tehelka case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 6
Two months after the Centre decided to scrap the Phukan Commission of Inquiry probing into the Tehelka expose, the CBI today registered bribery cases against former BJP president Bangaru Laxman and former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitley.

After scrutinising the available evidence handed over by the government after scrapping the Phukan Commission on October 4, the CBI has booked Laxman, who was seen accepting wads of currency notes, and two of his personal staff members — N. Uma Maheshwari Raju, alias Raju Venkatesh, and Satyamurthy — under Section 120-B of Indian Penal Code (conspiracy) and Section 7 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Another case under Section 120-B, IPC, and Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 has been registered against Ms Jaya Jaitley, Major-General S. P. Murugai (retd), an industrialist from Kanpur, Surender Kumar Surekha, and Rajasthan-based Samata Party leader Gopal Pacherwal.

While Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act refers to a “public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act”, Section 9 refers to “taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant.”

The cases were filed before the designated court here after the Prosecution Division of the CBI had weighed all evidences, including the tapes of Tehelka which purportedly showed politicians accepting bribe and other gratification, a CBI press note said here.

A huge political controversy broke out after the tapes were made public on March 13, 2001, leading to sacking of Mr Laxman and resignation of the then Defence Minister George Fernandes, who was, however, reinstated even before the Phukan Commission gave its interim report. Ms Jaitley was caught talking to the arms dealer at the official residence of Mr Fernandes.

The CBI said the former Samata Party president was shown on the tapes as having said to the representatives of fictitious company Westend International that she will influence “Saab”.

The CBI, in its FIR, alleged that she was trying to influence top officials of the Defence Ministry to get the fictitious company enrolled in some defence deals.

Three cases were registered separately against three suspended Defence Ministry officials, including H.C. Pant (Deputy Director), Nagendra Singh (Assistant Financial Advisor) and P. Sasi (an assistant). All the three were booked under Section 7, 9 and 13 (ii) (Criminal Misconduct) besides Section 120-B.

It said that some of the defence ministry documents also indicated involvement of some more Army officials but a case was not registered against them as they were already facing court martial proceedings.

Meanwhile, the BJP condemned the registration of bribery cases against Bangaru Laxman and Jaya Jaitley. “This is in continuation of a politically motivated act by the Central Government.

They wound up a judicial commission headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge which was on the verge of submitting its final report and instead preferred an executive police agency”, BJP Spokesperson Arun Jaitley told newspersons here.


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