Bangaru Laxman, former president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was today sentenced to four years in jail and slapped with a fine of Rs1 lakh after a Delhi court convicted him of accepting Rs1 lakh from a fake arms dealer in a fictitious deal 11 years ago.
Laxman was convicted on Friday under the Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting a kickback of Rs1 lakh to facilitate the passage of a fake defence deal in 2001 in a sting operation conducted by Tehelka.com, a news organisation.
He was charged with misusing his office and for attempting to influence another public official, a crime that is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years.
Laxman, 72, had, earlier in the day, pleaded for a lesser sentence citing age and health concerns. Additional sessions judge Kanwaljeet Arora, however, rejected his plea for leniency, taking cognisance of the "large-scale and rampant corruption" in the society and the need for shunning the casual attitude towards it.
"Balancing the twin interest of society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that interest of justice would be met, if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and to pay a fine of Rs1 lakh for the offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the Judge observed in his 14-page order.
Laxman, a former minister in the NDA government at the centre led by the Bhartiya Janata Party, was caught on camera in a sting operation accepting money in his chamber in the party headquarters.