This Article is From Dec 13, 2013

For just Rs. 50,000, MPs agree to lobby for fake foreign firm: Cobrapost sting

For just Rs. 50,000, MPs agree to lobby for fake foreign firm: Cobrapost sting
New Delhi: Investigative website Cobrapost today claimed it has secretly filmed at least 11 MPs willing to recommend, for money, the case of a fictitious oil exploration company.

The website alleges that it has MPs from Congress, BJP, BSP, Janata Dal United (JD-U) and AIADMK on videotape, willing to write letters of recommendation for a fictitious Australian oil and gas exploration company for cash payment ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 50 lakh. Six of these MPs, Cobrapost alleges, even wrote the letters for a fee.

NDTV does not vouch for the authenticity of the sting, code-named 'Operation Falcon Claw'.

Cobrapost named Khiladi Lal Bairwa and Vikrambhai Arjanbhai of the Congress, Ravindra Kumar Pandey, Hari Manjhi and Lalu Bhai Patel from the BJP, K Sugumar and C Rajendran from the AIADMK, the BSP's Kaiser Jahan, and Maheshwar Hazari, Bhudeo Chaudhary and Vishwa Mohan Kumar from the JD-U.

Vishwa Mohan Kumar today told reporters that he had written a letter, but denied taking money from the Cobrapost reporter.

The website alleged that the MPs were willing to lobby with the petroleum ministry to help the company secure oil exploration rights in the northeast. But none of them bothered to check the antecedents of the company, which was named "Mediterranean Oil Inc", Cobrapost claimed.

Six MPs allegedly gave letters of recommendation for fees ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000. The website alleged that some MPs were not willing to settle for less than Rs 5 lakh for a single letter, and in one case an MP demanded Rs 50 lakh for a single letter.

Reacting to the sting, Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan said, "This has shown how MPs are ready to sell their integrity for money. They should be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act."

Mr Bhushan added that breach of privilege proceedings must be initiated immediately against the MPs.