Former Bharatiya Janata Party president Bangaru Laxman, who is serving a four-year jail term for taking a bribe in an 11-year-old fictitious defence deal case, on Wednesday sought bail from the Delhi high court, citing his age and health problems.
"I am a 72 year old man and have already undergone a bypass surgery. Grave prejudice would be caused to me if my sentence (jail term) is not suspended and moreover, I am not going to run away from the jurisdiction of this court," the counsel for Bangaru told Justice A K Pathak during a hearing on Bangaru's appeal against his conviction by a lower court.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Bangaru, cited various cases, saying, "If a man is committing an offence, you film him in a sting operation, but you cannot entice and induce a man to commit an offence."
"Inducing and enticing a person to commit an offence is impermissible in law," he said.
"It is an undisputed fact that the man, who claims to be a member of the media, lived with an MP of other party and the CD of the alleged sting operation was not sealed," the lawyer said.
The alleged amount received by the convict was meant for the party fund and a receipt was given even prior to telecast of the sting operation, he said.
"I am not going to decide the matter on merit at this juncture. Come after two-three months," Justice Pathak said but later fixed the matter for hearing on August 14.
Earlier, Bangaru was sentenced to four years in jail after being convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting Rs one lakh bribe from a fake arms dealer in a fictitious deal in 2001.
Bangaru, a former Union minister, was caught on camera in a sting operation while accepting money in his chamber in the party headquarters. He had to quit as the BJP president shortly after the expose, which had created a huge political storm.
The sting was conducted by newsportal tehelka.com. The video CDs were released by the portal on March 13, 2001.
The scribes of the portal had posed as representatives of a fictitious company and sought Bangaru's recommendation to the ministry for supply of "hand-held thermal imagers", a fictitious device, for the Indian Army.
As per the Central Bureau of Investigation's charge-sheet, Tehelka scribes had held eight meetings with Bangaru between December 23, 2000, and January 7, 2001, projecting themselves as supplier of defence-related products.
The CBI had alleged that Bangaru had accepted Rs one lakh from the representatives of the purported firm on January 1, 2001, at his office, for pursuing their proposal to supply the products to the Army.
Bangaru's former personal secretary T Satyamurthy, who was a co-accused, had been granted pardon by a trial court after he turned an approver in the case.