Sunetra Choudhury/Sam Daniel/Sudhi Ranjan Sen, NDTV.COM
Saturday, July 8, 2006 (New Delhi/Chennai):
The CBI is soon likely to chargesheet former BJP president Bangaru Laxman in the Tehelka case.
NDTV has learnt that it was actually his former secretary who spilled the beans to the CBI.
The story goes back to 2001, when the news website Tehelka carried out a sting operation and then showed videotapes of politicians and defense officials accepting bribes to influence arms deals.
The footage showed Bangaru Laxman taking Rs one lakh in cash at his party office from a reporter masquerading as an arms dealer.
Bangaru will now be the first person to be chargesheeted in the case and it seems that it was his former secretary Sathyamurthy's statement to a Magistrate that was the final nail in his coffin.
Satyamurthy said that not only did Bangaru Laxman take the money, he also fudged the party's account books at a later date to show that the money came in much earlier as a donation from the arms dealer for the party.
Strong party support
Though Bangaru resigned as the BJP president after the expose he still continues to be a working member. And the party has all through backed Bangaru's claim about the so-called donation.
"He has given all the details to show it as a donation and we supported him and will continue to do so," said Prakash Javdekar, BJP Spokesman.
The CBI is now planning to make further use of Satyamurthy's admissions by making him an approver in the corruption case.
The agency is now putting finishing touches to the Bangaru chargesheet.
However, the other chargesheet in the Tehelka series, the one against Jaya Jaitley, will be more difficult for the CBI to prove.