Tehelka: Court terms Bangaru's charge as ‘false’

New Delhi: A Delhi court has termed as "false" the allegation of former BJP President Bangaru Laxman that it (court) had made an oral observation that his conviction was certain in Tehelka expose of corruption in defence deals.

The court, hearing the case relating to the fake arms deal scam, said the senior BJP leader, facing trial in the case, was trying to stall the proceedings.

"If this court had made such type of observation that in this case conviction is a certainty, the entire team of the advocates would have strongly objected to immediately. The allegation is false and is directed to stall the proceedings of the court which are being conducted on a day-to-day basis," Special Judge Vinod Kumar said.

The court had earlier framed charges against Laxman under the Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting money from fictitious arms dealers allegedly to recommend to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply their wares to the Army.

Bangaru had filed the application with the objection that while the testimony of a prosecution witness was going on, the court had made oral observation while pointing out towards him and taking his name saying "is case mein conviction to hona hi hai" (conviction in this case is certain).

He had alleged the court had made oral observation that evidence recorded till date is formal in nature and it should have been ideally brought on affidavit by CBI.

CBI opposed Laxman's plea saying he was trying every trick to somehow get the trial derailed and is, therefore, leveling all types of false allegations.

The judge, while dismissing his plea, also pointed out that during the trial, advocates, appearing for Bangaru, have raised objections repeatedly to almost every piece of evidence led by CBI and every objection has been "diligently and faithfully" taken on record by the court.

The court also said the allegation brought by Laxman regarding recording of evidence does not create any prejudice in the trial against him.

"I find no substance in the objections raised in the application. Hence, the application stands dismissed," the court said.

The court is now at the stage of recording statements of prosecution witnesses in the case.

Laxman was caught on camera accepting money in a 2001 sting operation conducted by newsportal 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.

As per the CBI charge sheet, 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 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.