New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused
to quash criminal proceedings against former BJP chief Bangaru
Laxman for allegedly receiving Rs one lakh bribe from
undercover scribes to favour them in a `fictitious` defence
A bench headed by Justice AK Ganguly refused to
interfere in the proceedings of the lower court, which is
conducting the trial in the case, and dismissed the plea of
the 72-year-old politician.
The court, however, made it clear that it was not making
any observation on the merits of the case and it will be
decided by the trial court.
The court passed the order on an appeal filed by Laxman
challenging the Delhi High Court`s order refusing to quash the
proceedings against him.
The case, lodged by the CBI, pertains to 2001 when a
sting operation was done by Tehelka news portal purportedly
showing Laxman receiving money from undercover journalists,
posing as arms dealers, for recommending to the Defence
Ministry purchase of their wares for the Army.
The video CDs of sting operation were released on May 13,
in 2001 by the portal.
Bangaru had approached the apex court contending that the
special CBI court had taken cognisance on the basis of
erroneous facts and "non-application" of facts.
He had alleged that CBI had adopted a partisan approach
in the entire case owing to "political motives".
He had submitted that in a bid to implicate him, CBI had
filed an application before the special court and obtained a
pardon for his erstwhile private secretary Gurumurthy to turn
him an approver and prosecution witness.
It was alleged that Bangaru, being the BJP President, had
promised to utilise his connections for awarding the contract
as the NDA government was in power at that time.
The lower court had in May framed charges against Bangaru
under section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for
accepting illegal gratification and said "prima facie it
appears that the accused accepted money."
The CBI charge sheet said the 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
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.
Tehelka had released the CDs of Laxman allegedly
accepting money for awarding a contract to a fictitious UK
based company M/s West End International for supply of
"hand-held thermal imager" to the Indian Army.