Cash-for-query sting: HC dismisses scribes` trial

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked Delhi Police to quash all proceedings against two journalists from the internet portal Cobra Post in a 2006 sting that caught 11 MPs on camera accepting bribes for questions in Parliament.

Updated: Sep 24, 2010, 13:33 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked Delhi Police to quash all proceedings against two journalists from the internet portal Cobra Post in a 2006 sting that caught 11 MPs on camera accepting bribes for questions in Parliament.

Hearing the petition of journalists Anirudh Bahal and Suhasini Raj, Justice SN Dhingra observed that "charging the petitioner under offence of the Prevention of Corruption Act would amount to travesty of justice".

"It shall discourage people of this country from performing their duties enjoined upon them by the Constitution of India under the Criminal Procedure Act," Justice Dhingra said.
In a sting operation the portal Cobra Post conducted by through its reporters Bahal and Raj, 11 MPs were caught on camera allegedly accepting bribes for raising and tabling questions in Parliament December 2006.

The inquiry committee of both houses of Parliament then recommended expulsion of the 11 MPs -- 10 from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha.

The police, on the recommendations of the Parliamentary committee, which suggested an enquiry into the role of a middleman in the sting operation, had filed an FIR against Bahal, Raj and a TV channel, which aired the sting operation.

The FIR was filed under Sections 12 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 B, dealing with conspiracy, of the Indian Penal Code.

PK Dubey, counsel for the petitioners, argued before the court that the sting operation was carried out in the national interest and there was no personal benefit involved.

"State has made them accused in the case to kill the case and save the MPs. They are the sole witness in the case and whatever the police did was under some influence," said Dubey.

IANS