Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman's private secretary at the time of the Tehelka sting operation on him in 2000-2001, T Satyamurthy, recently told a special CBI court that his former boss had "confirmed" having received Rs 1 lakh from a Tehelka reporter.
Not only this, Satyamurthy said Laxman also told him to follow up payment of the balance (Rs 4 lakh) in exchange for his help in a fake defence deal when the NDA was in power at the Centre.
Laxman was removed from the party president's post soon after footage showing him accepting wads of notes was flashed by the media in March 2001.
"The deposition by Satyamurthy has given the CBI a big boost in the case against the former BJP chief," an agency official said.
Satyamurthy has been pardoned by the court and been made an approver.
If Laxman is found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he can be punished for a maximum of seven years' imprisonment.
Satyamurthy told the court he was present at Laxman's official residence at 3, Kushak Road in New Delhi, when the tapes were placed in the public domain.
Satyamurthy told the court he was held responsible by many BJP functionaries and Laxman's friends for the entire episode.
Satyamurthy claimed in court that during the damage-control process started by Laxman's advisors, it was decided that Rs 1 lakh taken by the then BJP chief from the Tehelka reporter be included in the accounts of the BJP at a later date.
The CBI has alleged that party accounts were fudged to accommodate the money received by Laxman.
Laxman's lawyers Sunil Kumar and Manish Mohan refused to comment on Satyamurthy's statement.