New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against three persons, including the former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, for allegedly taking a bribe from reporters of the Tehelka portal, who posed as representatives of a fictitious U.K.-based arms firm, to influence the then Defence Minister George Fernandes.
The charge sheet was filed in the CBI court here against Ms. Jaitly, Major General (retired) S.P. Murugai and Samata Party leader Gopal Pacherwal under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI made the fourth accused Surender Kumar Surekha, an industrialist from Kanpur turn approver in the case registered on December 6, 2004.
The CBI alleged that the reporters sought assistance from the three to get orders for equipment from the Defence Ministry. In this connection, Rs. 2 lakh was handed over to Mr. Pacherwal at the instance of Ms. Jaitly during a meeting at the then Defence Minister's official residence, the CBI said in the seventh charge sheet.
In a video footage secretly filmed by the Tehelka reporters, Ms. Jaitly was purportedly shown telling them that she would put in a word to the "Sahib's office" if the firm was not considered, the CBI said. Maj. Gen. Murugai and Mr. Surekha were present at this meeting.
Separately, Mr. Surekha was allegedly paid Rs. 1 lakh for facilitating the meeting, while payments were allegedly made to Maj. Gen. Murugai at regular intervals.
First charge sheet
The CBI filed its first charge sheet against former Bharatiya Janata Party president Bangaru Laxman on July 18 in the case. Mr. Laxman had allegedly accepted Rs. 1 lakh as a bribe.
The second charge sheet was filed against H.C. Pant, a former staff officer of the Ordnance Factory Cell in the Ministry, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 70,000 from representatives of the fictitious firm. The third was filed against the Ministry's assistant financial adviser Narender Singh.
The fourth charge sheet was filed against Samata Party treasurer R.K. Jain for allegedly receiving a bribe. PTI