'Court ruling on sting will boost investigative journalism'

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court order to quash all proceedings against two journalists in the 2006 cash-for-query sting that caught 11 MPs on camera accepting bribes is “historic” and will give a boost to investigative journalism, said Anirudh Bahal, one of the accused scribes.

“It is a historic judgment and will give a big boost to investigative journalism in the country. It was really disgraceful on the part of the Delhi Police to register case against us rather than making us witness in the case,” Bahal told IANS.

In a sting operation conducted by internet portal Cobra Post through its reporters Bahal and Suhasini Raj, 11 MPs were caught on camera allegedly accepting bribes for raising and tabling questions in parliament December 2006.

The Delhi High Court Friday asked Delhi Police to quash all proceedings against the two journalists in the 2006 sting.

Hearing the petition of journalists Bahal and Raj, Justice S.N. Dhingra observed that “charging the petitioner under offence of the Prevention of Corruption Act would amount to travesty of justice”.

“It shall discourage people of this country from performing their duties enjoined upon them by the Constitution of India under the Criminal Procedure Act,” Justice Dhingra said.

The inquiry committee of both houses of parliament had then recommended expulsion of the 11 MPs — 10 from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha.

The police, on the recommendations of the parliamentary committee, which also suggested an enquiry into the role of a middleman in the sting operation, had filed an FIR against Bahal, Raj and the TV channel Aaj Tak, which aired the sting operation.

The FIR was filed under Sections 12 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120 B, dealing with conspiracy, of the Indian Penal Code.

P.K. Dubey, counsel for the petitioners, argued before the court that the sting operation was carried out in the national interest and there was no personal benefit involved.

Leave a Reply