Coming 11 years after the sting operation, the conviction of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Bangaru Laxman on Friday by a Delhi court for accepting a bribe from a fake arms dealer is a vindication for Tehelka, its managing editor said.
"It is a vindication of the story which we (Tehelka) exposed 11 years ago. Tehelka has paid high price after exposing Laxman... we had to shut down for two years. But we stood and defended our story.... We have no personal agenda with any political parties," Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhary told IANS.
The case dates back to 2001, when the then newsportal tehelka.com carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving money from an undercover journalist posing as an arms dealer. Laxman later resigned as the BJP chief.
"Many questioned us for our veracity, many investigated the people who brought out this story, but we have proved it," Chaudhary said.
Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for awarding a contract to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International, for the supply of hand-held thermal imagers to the Indian Army.
Asked whether the conviction of Laxman is embarrassment for the BJP, Chaudhary said: "It is a political embarrassment for the party. As and when Tehelka exposed Laxman, the concerned party should have looked into it and dealt with the findings rather than escalating it."
Convicted by Additional Sessions Judge Kanwaljeet Arora, Laxman was immediately taken into judicial custody. Arguments on sentencing will be heard Saturday.
Accepting the charges of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the court said it has established its case against Laxman for accepting bribe from a fake arms dealer.