As the CBI gets ready to file chargesheet against Bangaru Laxman in the Tehelka expose case, the former BJP president is in for more trouble. One of Laxman's former staff and a co-accused in the case wants to turn approver and is ready to testify that the BJP's accounts were fudged to pass off the payment received by Laxman from fictitous arms dealers as donations to the party, the CBI said on Sunday.
According to the CBI's investigation, Laxman had received Rs 1 lakh from the arms firm during 'Operation Westend' - a sting operation carried out by tehelka.com in 2000.
Sources in the CBI said, Satyamurthy,who had also been named in the FIR, revealed that Laxman had pocketed the Rs 1 lakh for his personal use. The money had been paid to him by the representatives of the fictitious London-based firm Westend International for his "assistance/blessings/political patronage" to sell hand held thermal cameras to the Indian Army.
But when the footage of his accepting money was beamed on television, Laxman himself fudged BJP's account books, to make back-dated entries to show the money was paid to the party fund.
Sources said CBI will file its chargesheet in the next couple of days. Satyamurthy has apparently agreed to make a statement before a magistrate that Laxman rigged the account books, following which CBI will move the request for making him an approver.
Satyamurthy was named in the FIR registered by CBI on December 6, 2004. He had been accused of receiving a gold chain from the 'representatives' of the firm "to project credibility of Westend International before Laxman'.
Apart from Satyamurthy, the FIR had named another of Laxman's office staff, N Uma Maheshwar Raju alias Raju Venkatesh. He had received Rs 10,000 to arrange a meeting with Laxman.
As per the FIR, the representatives of the arms company had met Laxman on December 23, 2000 at his 3, Kushak Road residence and made a commitment to pay Rs 1 lakh for his help in the sale of the hand held thermal cameras. The first instalment was paid on January 5, 2001 as New Year party fund.
As per the FIR, Laxman had told the re-presentatives that "you can given dollars". He later denied this.