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BJP ex-chief convicted in graft case
Bangaru Laxman was caught on camera taking bribe from fake arms dealer 

New Delhi, April 27
In a huge embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party, a Delhi court on Friday convicted its former president Bangaru Laxman in a graft case.
Laxman (72) was taken into custody and sent to Tihar Jail and will be produced in the court tomorrow at 10:30 am when the court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence.

The long arm of the law caught up with Laxman, when Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora convicted him for taking bribe from fake arms dealer to recommend to the Defence Ministry his firm’s name for a contract to supply thermal binoculars to the Army.

Laxman, a former Union Minister, was caught on camera in a sting operation accepting money in his chamber in the party headquarters.

He had to quit as the BJP s president shortly after the sting expose which had created a huge political storm.

The court turned down the plea of Laxman's counsel for bail, saying "after sentence only, I will consider the aspect of bail."

Clad in a cream kurta and white pyjama, Laxman stood shell-shocked in the witness box as the judge pronounced his verdict. He did not want to talk to any one and sat in the witness box for a long time. His daughter was also present in the court. Later, the police took him into custody.

"The CBI has been able to establish the case of accepting Rs one lakh bribe against Bangaru Laxman. Accused Bangaru Laxman stands convicted for the offence under the Section 9 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the judge said.

The court refused Bangaru’s plea to make the Tehelka portal an accused in the case saying the scribes had “acted as whistleblowers” though the method adopted by them was “objectionable”. The FIR in the case was registered on December 6, 2006 against Bangaru, his assistant personal secretary N Umamaheshwar Raju and personal secretary T Satyamurthy. — Agencies 

BJP distances itself from conviction

The BJP on Friday termed Bangaru Laxman’s conviction as an issue involving his personal conduct, but the party accepted that he is still a member of the party's national executive.

"This case is about his (Laxman) personal conduct. The charges levelled against him were about the deed done by him as an individual. Within hours of the issue coming to light, the BJP had taken a decision and he was no longer the party president. We did not take days to decide,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said. 

Sting expose

  • The case dates to 2001, when a newsportal (tehelka.com) carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving money from a journalist posing as an arms dealer
  • Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for awarding a contract to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International, for the supply of thermal imagers to the Indian Army
  • The expose created a political storm and led to Bangaru’s resignation from his post





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