April 28th, 2012
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Delhi Court to pronounce sentence on Bangaru Laxman today

bangaru laxman New Delhi: A Delhi court that was supposed to pronounce quantum of sentence for former BJP President Bangaru Laxman has postponed the hearing to 2.30 pm today. He will be produced in the Additional Sessions court today. Laxman was convicted for the offence yesterday. Laxman, a former Union Minister, was caught on camera in a sting operation, accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in his room at party headquarters.

In his 155-page judgment, Special Judge Kanwaljeet Arora held Mr. Laxman guilty under Section 9 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and directed that he be taken into judicial custody immediately. Section 9 provides for a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years in prison.

Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman was convicted yesterday, 11 years after he was caught on camera allegedly taking Rs One lakh as bribe from a fake arms dealer in a fictitious deal in a sting operation by Tehelka. Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora found Laxman guilty under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“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 Section 9 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the judge said.

Clad in a cream kurta and white pyjama, Mr Laxman stood shell-shocked in the witness box as the judge pronounced his verdict. He did not want to talk to anyone and sat in the witness box for a long time. The disgraced BJP leader broke down in the court room immediately after the court’s decision was announced. He was then arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which probed the case, and sent to judicial custody. 72-year-old Laxman was taken to Tihar Jail after completion of all the formalities and will be produced in the court tomorrow at 10:30 AM when the court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence. The court turned down the plea of Mr. Laxman’s counsel for bail, saying “after sentence only, I will consider the aspect of bail.”

The former BJP chief was caught on camera accepting money in a 2001 sting operation conducted by news portal Tehelka.com with its scribes posing as representatives of a fictitious UK-based company West End International, seeking his recommendation to the ministry for the supply of hand-held thermal imager to the Indian Army. The video CDs were released by the portal on March 13, 2001. The court ordered Laxman to face the trial observing, “The intention and act of the accused were real.”

In Sept 2011, Laxman’s private secretary at the time of the sting operation, T Satyamurthy, turned approver and told a special CBI court that his former boss had “confirmed” having received Rs. 1 lakh from a Tehelka reporter. Satyamurthy further disclosed Laxman also told him to follow up payment of the balance (Rs 4 lakh) in exchange for his help in a fake defence deal when the NDA was in power at the Centre. Laxman was removed from the party president’s post soon after footage showing him accepting wads of notes was flashed by the media in March 2001.


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