10 May, 2021

After Eleven Years, It Stings To Say This...

Mathew Samuel, the journalist behind Operation Westend which felled Bangaru Laxman and George Fernandes, on how it upturned his life

After Eleven Years, It Stings To Say This...

Like the rest of the nation, I too sat before the idiot box and watched former BJP national president Bangaru Laxman being taken to prison last week. Wasn’t it just the other day when I was actually sitting before him and handing over those bundles of one lakh rupees in cash? He had offered to help clinch a defence deal in what has come to be known as Operation Westend, little suspecting that it was a sting operation.

Bangaru’s conviction and imprisonment left me with mixed feelings though. I did feel vindicated at one level, this being the season of defence scams and scandals. But I was also disturbed by the question of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) fast-tracking the case against the BJP’s Dalit icon and not against equally or even more influential people like Jaya Jaitly, R.K. Gupta, R.K. Jain and others, all caught by me on camera, accepting bribes just like Bangaru Laxman did.

The CBI was clearly in a hurry to bring the case against Bangaru to a closure. In September last year, they were...

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