A Delhi Court awarded four years rigourous imprisonment to former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Bangaru Laxman for accepting a bribe from a fake arms dealer in a 10 year-old graft case yesterday. The court has also slapped him with a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Additional sessions judge Kanwaljeet Arora handed down the sentences after holding him guilty on Friday and sending him to judicial custody.
Arora said, “Balancing the interest of society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that the interest of justice would be met if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and pays a fine of Rs1 lakh for the offence under Section 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act.”
The accomplice of the crime of corruption is generally our own indifference. The ‘Sab chalta hai (Anything goes)’ syndrome has led us to the present situation... where we are, where nothing moves without an illegal gratification,” remarked the court.
The court said that people are forced to pay for getting the “right things done at the right time,” and urged people to shun the attitude. Showing no leniency to Laxman, the court said that as president of a political party, Laxman was supposed to show exemplary character and lead by example, but he had not done that. Laxman’s counsel said that they would move the Delhi high court against the verdict.
The case dates back to 2001, when newsportal tehelka.com carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving Rs 1 lakh in cash from a journalist posing as an arms dealer. He later resigned as the BJP chief.
Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for promise of assistance to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International in securing a contract for the supply of hand-held thermal imagers (HHTIs) to the Indian Army.
The court observed that Bangaru Laxman had agreed to exert his personal influence in favour of the fictitious company for his personal gains by way of getting ‘illegal gratification’ with the intention and belief that the product for which a supply order is required, is genuine.