As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrial announced the helpline number on Wednesday, giving people of Delhi the sanction to conduct ‘sting operations’ and report it to the anti- corruption cell, he empowered the people to take on corrupt officials. Terming mobile phones as a new tool to eradicate corruption, Kejriwal said no citizen needs a baton or a revolver to fight against corruption when a simple mobile phone camera can do the trick. It is yet to be seen on how the helpline number will help nail the corrupt, but we take a look back at some sting operations that made the headlines over the years.
Sting1: Bangaru Laxam caught accepting bribe
The first big sting operation in India, conducted by Tehelka in 2001, showed former BJP president Bangaru Laxam accepting Rs 1 lakh as bribe from journalists who posed as arms dealers. The scribes posed themselves as representatives of a fictitious UK-based company West End International and sought Laxman’s recommendation to the ministry for supply of hand-held thermal imagers for the Indian Army. Bangaru had to quit from the post of party president after the expose led to a political storm. The court sentenced Laxman to four years in jail in the corruption case.
Sting 2: Babu Bajrangi admits to Naroda Patiya massacre
One of the main accused in Naroda Patiya massacre in the 2002 Gujarat riots, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi alias Babubhai Patel, was caught on camera accepting that he abetted the execution of Muslims after the riots. The sting operation carried out by Tehelka was taken into consideration while convicting Babu Bajrangi. In the sting carried out by a Tehelka journalist, Babu Bajrani said he was ‘proud’ of the killings on February 28, 2002 — a day after the Godhra train carnage — in which 97 Muslims were killed.
Sting 3: Lawyer R K Anand with BMW case witness
In the follow up of the famous BMW hit-and-run case, a TV channel along with a witness carried out a sting operation that showed the complicity of two reputed senior advocates influencing a key witness in favour of main accused Sanjeev Nanda. The sting, carried out on May 30, 2007, exposed defence lawyer R K Anand and public prosecutor IU Khan trying to bribe Sunil Kulkarni, who saw Sanjeev Nanda drive the black BMW. As a result the Delhi High Court debarred the two high profile lawyers for four months. The infamous expose also led to the conviction of former Rajya Sabha MP Anand for trying to woo a prosecution witness.
Sting 4: MP’s sway wad of notes in Parliament
The entire nation came to a standstill when some BJP MPs swayed wads of currency notes in the Parliament in 2008 claiming Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh’s aide tried to bribe them to vote in favor of UPA backed Indo-US nuclear deal. A TV channel presented a clip of the video showing the same.
Sting 5: Jessica Lal Sting operation
In another important sting operation, police got vital clues and information about Jessica Lal Murder case. The expose carried out again by the Tehelka magazine for three months against three key witnesses — Shayan Munshi, Karan Rajput and Shiv Dass — who had turned hostile, claimed that witnesses in the case were bribed to change statements. The tapes showed that Shayan, who said he did not know Hindi well enough to know what he was signing when investigators made him sign his witness’ account, showing off his prowess in the language. The sting operation helped police to nail main accused Manu Sharma.