New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has called for the trial court records on former BJP president Bangaru Laxman in the fake arms deal case. The argument of expediting the case on the basis of Laxman's old age and medical condition has been rejected by the court. Laxman will now have to spend two months in jail. The next date of hearing in the case is July 5.
Bangaru Laxman had moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and the punishment awarded to him by a special CBI court in New Delhi for taking Rs 1 lakh as bribe in a fictitious defence deal case.
Eleven years after having been caught in a sting operation by a news portal, Laxman was convicted and sent to four years in jail on April 28 and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
After spending around ten days in Tihar jail, Laxman moved the High Court seeking quashing of the trial court's conviction and the sentence awarded to him for taking the bribe from fake arms dealers to recommend to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply thermal binoculars to the Army.
Laxman's cousel Atul Kumar earlier claimed that in the case the FIR has not been proved and the trial court judge has wrongly convicted him. "The prosecution has not considered the submission made by the witnesses even though it was in his favour," the counsel said.
Laxman, 72-year-old former union minister, who was caught on camera in a 2001 sting operation conducted by Tehelka.com, accepting money in his chamber in the party headquarters, had to quit as BJP President shortly after the expose which had created a huge political storm.
As per the CBI chargesheet, the Tehelka scribes had held eight meetings with Laxman between December 23, 2000, and January 7, 2001, projecting themselves as supplier of defence-related products.
The 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 the products to the Army.
The FIR in the case was registered on December 6, 2006, against Laxman, his Assistant Personal Secretary N Umamaheshwar Raju and Personal Secretary T Satyamurthy.
Satyamurthy, however, had been granted pardon by a trial court after he turned an approver in the case while the trial could not proceed against Raju due to lack of evidence.
(With additional information from PTI)