Bangaru Laxman gets 4 years jail term
New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Bangaru Laxman was sentenced today to four years in jail by a Delhi court for taking a bribe of Rs. one lakh in a fictitious arms deal case 11 years ago.
Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora sentenced 72-year-old Laxman, also a former Union minister, holding him guilty of 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.
The court awarded him the prison term, rejecting his plea for leniency and ordered that he be taken in custody to serve the sentence.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs. one lakh on Mr. Laxman, who had been caught on camera accepting the money in his chamber in the party headquarters and had to quit as its president shortly after the sting expose which had created a huge political storm.
“Balancing the twin interest of society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that interest of justice would be met, if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and to pay a fine of Rs. one lakh for the offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the judge said.
“It is often said that the accomplice of the crime of corruption is generally our own indifference. ‘Sab chalta hai’ syndrome has led us to the present situation, where we are, where nothing moves without an illegal consideration. People are forced to pay for getting even the right things done at right time,” he added.
To move HC against conviction
“We will challenge the decision in the High Court. We will definitely appeal in the higher court,” Mr. Laxman’s counsel Ajay Digpaul told reporters.
He said “this was a ‘framed case’ and some media personnel were behind it.”
He added that they will go through the entire 155-page verdict pronounced by the trial court and “formulate an opinion” before challenging it.
Mr. Digpaul said the observations made by the court were general in nature and has no relevance with the case which happened 11 years ago.
“The court gave a general observation on corruption. This case pertains to an incident of 11 years ago and is different from the situation prevailing today,” he said, adding that what happened in 2001 cannot be equated with today’s situation.
The court has observed that the importance of law is being damaged by large-scale and rampant corruption which has also weakened the political system.