India's Former Opposition Leader Convicted Of Bribery

 
on April 27 2012 3:29 PM
Bangaru Laxman
Bangaru Laxman Reuters

On Friday, Indian courts found Bangaru Laxman, former chief of the opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), guilty of accepting bribes.

His sentence will be decided on Saturday, but he can expect the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to push for the maximum 5-year punishment.

In 2001, Laxman was secretly videotaped accepting 100,000 rupees ($1,900) in exchange for a military contract by news agency Tehelka.

Tehelka proceeded with Operation Westend by sending two undercover reporters as businessmen running a fake company called West End International. They successfully tried to sell Laxman fake hand-held thermal imaging devices to be used by the Indian military, reports the BBC.

After Tehelka published the revealing videos, Laxman was forced to resign along with Defense Minister George Fernandes.

The CBI prosecuted Laxman under India's anti-corruption laws.

For his part, Laxman argued he was framed. He pleaded for counsel for bail but was denied, reports the Times of India.

Political corruption in India is a major flaw in its democratic system.

According to Transparency International, an organization that monitors world corruption, 54 percent of Indian politicians reported receiving a bribe in 2010 and 64 percent of Indians believe their government's efforts to fight corruption are ineffective.

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