A Delhi Court has awarded Ex-Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly and two others four years of imprisonment in a 20-year-old corruption case of a purported defence deal. The court has directed the convicts to surrender by 5 PM today.
A special CBI judge on July 21, convicted former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly and two of her colleagues – Gopal Pacherwal and Major General (retired) SP Murgai were for corruption and criminal conspiracy in the purported purchase of hand-held thermal imagers.
In an on-camera proceeding, besides convicting the three, the court has also imposed Rs 1 lakh fine on each one of them.
The matter got highlighted in January 2001, when news portal tehelka.com aired a sting operation “Operation Westend”. The sting operation by Tehelka showed that the accused purportedly accepting a bribe from reporters of the portal, who posed as representatives of a fictitious company, for supply orders for hand-held thermal imagers from the Indian Army.
The meeting was held at the residence of then defence minister George Fernandes.
On July 21, Delhi court has noted that Jaya Jaitly accepted Rs 2 lakh gratification from Mathew Samuel. While fictitious company Westend International’s representative SP Murgai received Rs 20,000. Surender Kumar Surekha had later turned to an approver.
All the three accused in the case are convicted of an offence of conspiracy (Section 120-B IPC) read with Section 9 of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
“From the evidence lead by the prosecution it is proved beyond doubt that in the meeting in the hotel room on December 25, 2000, Surekha and Murgai assured their assistance to Samuel in procuring letter of evaluation for the product of his company from the Ministry of Defence and also to arrange a meeting between him and accused Jaya Jaitly who would provide political cover to them in this regard,” observed the court. The court also added that such kind of agreement was clearly tantamount to the offence of conspiracy.
The charge sheet in the matter was filed in 2006 while charges were framed in 2012.