Three years after the SC said that journalists participating in sting operations could not enjoy immunity from prosecution under anti-corruption laws, a CBI court on Monday acquitted two scribes, expelled Congress leader Amit Jogi and two others of charges of abetment of corruption. The five were charged with a role in conducting a sting operation on then Union forest minister Dilip Singh Judeo in 2003.
The CBI case was registered after a sting video showed Judeo purportedly accepting Rs 9 lakh in a hotel room in New Delhi. Judeo was also made an accused in the case, but the proceedings against him were abated after his death in 2013.
CBI Special Judge Rajneesh Kumar Gupta acquitted Judeo’s then personal secretary Natwar Rateria, journalists Bhupinder Singh Patel and Arvind Vijay Mohan, and Rajat Prasad, a businessman, who had been charged with abetment of corruption and conspiracy for taking part in the sting. The money was allegedly given on the pretext of getting favours from Judeo for mining projects in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.