M A I N   N E W S

Erring MPs allege videos morphed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
The five-member Pawan Kumar Bansal Committee held eight sittings in all before finalising its report and recommendations to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

The committee heard all the members allegedly involved in the cash-for-questions scandal and caught on camera through a sting operation as well the evidence of Aniruddha Bahal, Kumar Badal and Suhasini Raj of Cobrapost.com and viewed all relevant video recordings obtained from Aaj Tak news channel.

Mr Bahal told the Bansal panel that there was no targeting at all. “We cultivated a middleman and a few middlemen introduced us to the others and those middlemen used to take us to particular MPs. We were just going where the middlemen were taking us.”

In his evidence before the Bansal panel, Narendra Kumar Kushwaha said “what the Press and media people have done and the manner in which they have gone about it is a conspiracy to entrap simple and innocent people like me....It is requested that this matter be investigated threadbare.” On the genuineness of the tapes, the MP alleged they were doctored.

Mr Annasaheb M.K. Patil told the panel that “there is a very good scientific system of how things can be added and how they can be subtracted. This is technology”. He alleged that the tapes are selectively edited. When the money negotiations were read out from the transcript, the member stated that “the same were in the context of some developmental works and did not relate to raising of questions”. Mr Manoj Kumar doubted the veracity of the video clippings and contended that “if I can take Rs 10,000 why would my private secretary take an amount of Rs 1 lakh as has been shown in the video clipping...if they could show me counting money they could have shown me taking money as well.”

Mr Y.G. Mahajan during his evidence said that “whatever has appeared in the newspapers about me is a conspiracy against me. Whatever allegations have been levelled against me are false and I deny them. I should take some legal advice and I need some time for that.” When the panel asked him if the voice in the tape/CD belongs to him, the member answered in the affirmative.

Mr Padeep Gandhi said “Pieces of different clips have been assembled to defame me and tarnish my image. The aspects of money which have been shown in the video are totally in some other contest. I was talking about the problems of small-scale industries and hiring consultants and making payment to them. The facts have been totally distorted and doctored.”

Mr Suresh Chand also claimed that he had also spoken to the reporter about small-scale industries and that the video has been doctored and morphed.

Mr Ram Sewak Singh said a lot of Parliament questions had been sent to the Lok Sabha secretariat “under my fake signatures which must also be inquired into”.

Mr Lal Chandra Kol said the money which he had been shown accepting in the video “is my money which I had given to one Saligram Dubey who is from my village for buying seeds. He was returning me that money which has been shown in the video in a distorted manner. I am absolutely innocent.”

Mr Rajaram Pal in his evidence insisted that the videos had been shown by doctoring and morphing them. “If such acts of the media are not checked, then nobody can protect the dignity and prestige of Parliament. Even my voice can be tampered and doctored by modern techniques. I have neither taken any money nor asked any question in the Lok Sabha in lieu thereof.”

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