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Report: India’s lawmakers took bribes on tape

An Indian Web site and a TV station said on Monday they secretly filmed 11 lawmakers accepting cash in exchange for questions in parliament.
/ Source: Reuters

An Indian Web site and a TV station said on Monday they secretly filmed 11 lawmakers accepting cash in exchange for questions in parliament, prompting two parties to suspend the members shown on film.

Television channel Aaj Tak and www.cobrapost.com said in a statement they offered 11 members of parliament between $326 and more than $2,175 in cash.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Congress party quickly suspended members shown in film clips of the supposed "sting."

MPs of two regional parties also figured in the clips.

Using a hidden camera, journalists posed as representatives of a fictitious organization lobbying for the welfare of small-scale manufacturers.

Aaj Tak showed clips in which some MPs were seen pocketing what appeared to be wads of currency, while others put them down on a table.

"Several MPs also wanted an 'annual fee' of 500,000 ($10,860) to 600,000 rupees ($13,000) ... for the organization to put in as many proxy questions as it wanted," the statement from Aaj Tak and cobrapost said.

Most questions, some of which came up in parliament over the past few months, related to the welfare of small-scale industry, according to the statement.

"I have no ... doubt all sections of the House feel deeply concerned about it," Lower House Speaker Somnath Chatterjee told parliament on Monday.

He asked the 11 MPs not to attend the House until a probe was completed, including hearing their version of the story.

The MPs could not be contacted for comment.