After nearly 15 months of probe into the Tehelka expose, the CBI on Tuesday chargesheeted former BJP President Bangaru Lakshman for allegedly taking bribe from representatives of a fictitious armament firm for trying to influence public servants in a weapon deal.
The chargesheet against Lakshman, filed before Special CBI judge IK Kocchar, alleged the investigations had disclosed that during a period of around two weeks between December 23, 2000 to January 6, 2001 representatives of web portal Tehelka, who were posing as representatives of a London-based arms company, had met the former BJP chief three times and two of his personal staff five times, the CBI said.
In the meetings, the company representatives had held "detailed discussions with the former (BJP) President and sought his assistance and patronage in getting favourable orders from the Ministry of Defence in respect of Hand-Held Thermal Imagers offered to be supplied by the West End International for the use of Indian Army."
Simultaneously, they offered Rs five lakh to the then BJP President, out of which the "first payment of Rs one lakh was received by the said President on January 5, 2001 and for the balance amount, when the said persons enquired from the said President as to his preference for having the same in rupees or dollars, Lakshman gave the preference for dollars," the CBI said in a release.
Lakshman, while reacting to the fresh developments, claimed he was clean and all the stories about him had been made up by the Tehelka people and purchased by CBI for political persecution.