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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
India arms bribes 'involved sex'
Offices of sent journalists posing as arms dealers
An Indian news website which caused a defence bribery scandal now says it provided prostitutes for senior army officers. caused a sensation in March when it said hours of secretly recorded videotapes showed army officers and politicians asking for money from journalists who were posing as arms dealers.

George Fernandes
The defence minister was forced to resign

The Indian Defence Minister, George Fernandes, was among those forced to resign.

Tehelka, which means "sensation" in Hindi, was ordered to hand over dozens of videotapes to an investigating commission.

Now a daily newspaper, The Indian Express, has acquired transcripts of the tapes, which show that prostitutes also figured in the bogus deals.

The editor of, Tarun Tejpal, said unscreened footage did show senior officers demanding sexual favours and in one case, he said, an officer having sex with a prostitute.

He said his journalists had to go along with the officer's demands to avoid their long-running investigation - which they called Operation Westend - being uncovered.

After the latest revelations, opposition MPs disrupted proceedings in the Indian parliament as they waved copies of the newspaper in the chamber and shouted insults at the government.

Five-star hotel

The Indian Express says the transcript shows that Tehelka provided prostitutes for three army officers, and helped to negotiate the kind of sex being offered.

It says the three are among five officers now facing court martial proceedings.

The transcript allegedly describes two meetings between officers and prostitutes in a five-star hotel in Delhi last September and November, which had been arranged by undercover Tehelka journalists.

In the first meeting on 18 September, two officers are introduced to prostitutes.

The Tehelka representative leaves the room leaving the camera running. One of the officers walks out of the frame with one of the prostitutes while the second is filmed having sex with the second prostitute.

In the second meeting, on 11 November, an officer and a prostitute are introduced but the officer says he is not "mentally prepared" for sex.

The Tehelka representative then allegedly offers him other women.

See also:

14 Mar 01 | South Asia
Heads roll in India bribery scandal
14 Mar 01 | South Asia
The Tehelka tapes
14 Mar 01 | South Asia
Indian website breaks the mould
09 Mar 01 | South Asia
Hindujas asked for Bofors details
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