The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked police why a journalist, who had carried a sting operation on MPs in the infamous cash-for-query scam, was made party to the case and criminal proceedings started against him.
Delhi Police have been asked to reply by Sep 15 following an application filed by editor of cobrapost.com Anirudh Bahal seeking quashing of charges against him in the scam.
Bahal in his petition said the sting operation was carried out in the public interest and the intention of the operation was to expose corrupt MPs.
He said the initiation of criminal proceedings against him was an "unreasonable restriction on the right of the petitioners to free speech and expression".
The sting operation spanned nearly eight months from April 2005 to December 2005. During this period, 10 Lok Sabha members and one Rajya Sabha MP were caught on camera accepting money from representatives of the fictitious body North India Small Manufacturer's Association (NISMA) for asking questions Parliament.
In all, more than 60 questions were submitted by 11 MPs. Of these, 25 questions were tabled in Parliament.
Hearing the submissions, the court issued notice to Delhi police and asked it to file their reply as to why Bahal has been made a party into the case.
The court also granted Bahal exemption from personal appearance.