A Delhi court on Friday convicted former BJP president Bangaru Laxman — 11 years after he was caught on camera taking a bribe of R1 lakh from an undercover journalist posing as an arms dealer.
Additional sessions judge Kanwal Jeet Arora pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom, declaring him guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The BJP sought to distance itself from Laxman. “This case is about his personal conduct. Within hours of the issue coming to light, the BJP took a decision and he was no longer the party president,” spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
But Congress’ Manish Tewari, in an oblique reference to the revived Bofors controversy, said, “The conviction should be seen as a lesson to the BJP.”
A former union minister and now a member of the BJP national executive, Laxman was convicted of taking bribe from a fake arms dealer for helping him win a fictitious army contract. He was forced to quit as BJP president immediately after Tehelka magazine made public the videotapes shot on March 13, 2001.
His former personal secretary and co-accused, T Satyamurthy, however, was granted pardon after he turned approver.