Ram Nath Kovind Had Backed Former BJP Prez Post Corruption Sting

The report points out that Kovind was one of the two defence witnesses who were examined in the corruption case.

2 min read
Ram Nath Kovind is the NDA’s presidential nominee. (Photo: PTI)

Ram Nath Kovind, BJP’s presidential nominee, was a defence witness in the Bangaru Laxman corruption case, reported The Wire. After the sting by Tehelka in 2001, BJP President Laxman had to exit the party.

The report points out that Kovind was one of the two witnesses who were examined in the corruption case.

He deposed that he knows Bangaru Laxman for last 20 years. He deposed that Bangaru Laxman is a straight forward, simple and honest person, who became President of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).
The Court’s Judgment

Kovind had informed the court that Laxman had told him that he was “framed”. The former also added that he did not know whether or not Laxman had accepted the Rs 1 lakh as bribe. The court later went ahead to find the BJP president guilty of having accepted the money.

The court further noted:

That accused Bangaru Laxman on 05.01.2001 had accepted illegal gratification of Rs.1 lakh from Mathew Samuel, as Chief Liasioning Officer of M/s Westend International and has further agreed to accept the balance amount of illegal gratification in dollars, as a motive or reward for exercise of personal influence on the the public servants working with Ministry of Defence, to show favor for award of a supply order in favor of the above mentioned company of HHTI’s to Indian Army.

The sting operation was carried out by journalists Mathew Samuel and Aniruddha Bahal. The sting showed a reporter posing as an arms dealer and entering into an exchange with Laxman that involved giving him one lakh rupees. Laxman said that the amount would be paid in dollars at a subsequent meeting. The sting was later broadcast on Zee TV.

The CBI court later commented on the whole sting that “the method adopted by the Tehelka people may be objectionable, but their purpose was not.”

(With inputs from The Wire.)

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