HC reservers order on journos' petition in cash-for-query scam

Justice S N Dhingra reserved the order after hearing the arguments from the counsel for parties. Appearing for the police, counsel O P Saxena justified the initiation of proceedings against Anirudh Bahal and Suhasini Raj, reporters from Cobra Post.com, saying they had offered money to parliamentarians which was an encouragement to corruption.

However, the argument was countered by the counsel for the reporters who submitted that if the money was not offered to the MPs the sting operation could not have been made. Eleven MPs were caught on camera accepting bribes for raising and tabling questions in Parliament in December 2005.

The inquiry committee of both the Houses of Parliament had recommended the expulsion of the 11 MPs -- ten from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha. The police, on the recommendations of the parliamentary committee, registered FIRs against the reporters and probed the role of the middleman in the sting operation. The FIR was filed under sections 12 and 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120 B (Conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code.

The reporters had approached the High Court seeking to quash the proceedings against them, alleging that the police were shielding the corrupt MPs and framing them in the case instead. Following a chargesheet, the trial court has summoned the reporters.

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