NEW DELHI: In a massive blow to the BJP, a Delhi court on Saturday awarded four years’ rigorous imprisonment to former party chief Bangaru Laxman in a graft case, observing that the ‘sab-chalta-hai attitude’ has led to corruption.
Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora sent Laxman to Tihar Jail saying that courts should deal strictly with persons found guilty of corruption. “It is often said that the accomplice of the crime of corruption is generally our own indifference. ‘Sab chalta hai’ syndrome has led us to the present situation, where we are, where nothing moves without an illegal consideration. People are forced to pay for getting even the right things done at the right time,” the judge said. Besides, the jail term, the court also imposed a fine of `1 lakh on Laxman.
Laxman was caught on camera accepting money (`1 lakh) in a 2001 sting operation conducted by news portal Tehelka.com.
The probe agency sought maximum punishment for Laxman (five years). However, the defence counsel pleaded for leniency on health grounds.
“I have health problems as I have undergone bypass surgery twice and suffering from diabetes. I have never been involved in any such case before,” he told the court. Laxman’s counsel said they’d appeal against the sentence in the High Court.
While the Congress said it was time for the BJP to sit back and introspect, the BJP distanced itself from the former party president. “This is a case of personal conduct. The charges are against Bangaru Laxman for deeds done as an individual and not as BJP president,” said BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.