'Operation West End': Jaya Jaitly convicted in corruption case

Updated July 25, 2020

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New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Two decades after a sting operation was carried out to expose alleged corruption in defence deals, a special CBI court in Delhi convicted former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly and two others for corruption.

The genesis of this case lies in sting operation "Operation West End", conducted by news website Tehelka in 2000-2001 to show corruption in defence procurement, and made public in mid-March 2001.

On the basis of the sting operation, an FIR was registered against the four persons - Jaitly, Major General S.P. Murgai, Gopal K. Pacherwal and Surender Kumar Surekha but the latter turned approver for the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI filed the charge sheet against Jaitly and the others in 2006.

According to the agency, Jaitly entered into a criminal conspiracy with Murgai, Surekha and Pacherwal in 2000-01 and obtained Rs 2 lakh as gratification for herself or for any other person from Mathew Samuel, representative of fictitious firm M/s Westend International, London.

She did it with a motive to exercise influence upon public servants in the matter to getting supply orders from the Ministry of Defence for some defence equipment i.e. Hand Held Thermal Cameras (HHTC) for the said fictitious firm.

It is alleged that a number of payments were made to Murgai for his service in this regard and a sum of Rs 1 lakh was paid to Surekha for his assistance in the matter.

Special CBI Judge Virendra Bhatt, in an order dated July 20, stated: "All the three accused are hereby convicted of the offence of conspiracy punishable under Section 120B IPC r/w Section 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988."

Further, Jaitly and Murgai are hereby convicted of the offence under Section 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 also, the judge added.

The court will hear the arguments on the quantum of sentence on July 29.

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