Court orders trial of former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 19:37

New Delhi: A Delhi court has ordered that
former BJP President Bangaru Laxman be put on trial for
accepting money from fake arms dealers allegedly to recommend
to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply
their wares to the Army.



Special Judge Vinod Kumar ordered Laxman`s trial, framing
charges against him under section of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, saying "prima facie it appears that the
accused accepted money."



Laxman 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 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 that
"the intention and act of the accused were real."



"Prima facie, it appears that accused accepted money
from the functionaries of the West End International, London,
for exercising his personal influence upon the concerned
public servant to get favour for the aforesaid firm.



"Accordingly, a prima facie case under section 9 of the
Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 is disclosed. Let the charge
under section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 be
framed," the court said.



The court rejected submissions by Laxman`s counsel that
no offence was disclosed because the entire operation was
based on a fictitious company.



"Here, the accused is getting money on the pretext that
he will help to get some business order for the company which
actually was fictitious. But in the eyes of the accused, such
a company was a real company.

"He was offered that if a contract is awarded to such a
company, there were prospects to get further commission from
it. No doubt, the company was fictitious but prima facie, the
intention and the act of the accused were real," the judge
noted.



The court also dismissed Laxman`s counsel contentions
that functionaries of West End International were guilty and
they should also be prosecuted.



"I am of the opinion that these persons are the whistle-
blowers. Their method may be objectionable but their purpose
is not. If such persons are also prosecuted, no one will come
forward to expose corruption.



"Furthermore, it is the prerogative of the state to
prosecute a person and the courts normally avoid prosecuting
the persons suo-motu unless there is travesty of justice," the
court said.



As per the CBI chargesheet, Tehelka scribes, under the
guise of representatives of West End International, had held
eight meetings with Laxman between December 23, 2000, and
January 7, 2001, projecting themselves as supplier of defence-
related products.



CBI had alleged Laxman had accepted Rs one 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.



PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 19:37

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