Former BJP chief convicted, jailed
New Delhi, Apr 28: A CBI court on Saturday here jailed the highest functionary of a national political party in a corruption case. Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman was awarded four years rigorous imprisonment by the court for accepting a bribe in a “fictitious” defence deal case.
In a hard hitting judgment the court held that 'corruption is worse than prostitution' as it endangers the whole society. Observing this, Special CBI Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora turned down Laxman's plea for leniency saying "we have to shun this attitude of 'sab chalta hai,' where nothing moves without illegal gratification."
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Laxman who was taken to Tihar Jail shortly after he was sentenced. His counsel said they would move the high court to challenge his conviction and sentencing.
“By accepting the bribe, Laxman had kept his personal interest above the national interest ignoring the security of soldiers who put their lives in danger while fighting for the nation,” the court said.
"The convict (Bangaru) had kept his individual interest over and above the national interest and has even agreed to compromise with the security and safety of the nation. He had agreed to help a company i.e. M/s Westend International, coming to him for getting a supply order of defence related equipments to Indian Army.”
"He agreed to compromise with the lives of lakhs of soldiers who without fearing for their lives, fight for the nation," the court further observed after convicting him under section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. "Corruption, to my mind is worse than prostitution as the latter might endanger the morals of an individual, whereas, the former invariably endangers the entire society. It is virulent for the nation and makes people full of ire.”
The court ruling in the bribery case immediately led to the slanging match between BJP and the Congress reaching a new crescendo. The Congress asked the BJP to "self-introspect" and the latter accusing it of not doing enough to book the guilty in the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum scams.
Taking a dig at the BJP on conviction and sentencing of its former president, Congress spokesperson Raashid Alvi said that it was for the first time a national president of a national party had been found guilty and punished by a court of law. "It is proper time for the BJP to do self-analysis, to rethink about its organisation," he said.
In a counter-offensive, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said conviction in the case was Laxman's "personal liability", but added that he was entitled to take legal remedies. Prasad accused the government of not allowing fair probe in some other cases of corruption, including alleged payoffs to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochhi in the Bofors gun deal.
CPM leader Brinda Karat said Laxman should have been convicted long back as it was a "clear" case of a political leader accepting money for favours. Karat said there was prima facie evidence in the case involving Laxman and conviction should have happened in a year. "It also shows infirmities in our legal system," she said.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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