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Friday 25 November 2011

Tehelka, CNN IBN, and the cash for votes story

Tehelka, CNN IBN, and the cash for votes story

CNN IBN held back footage shot during the cash for votes sting

The Tehelka story and its version of events regarding CNN IBN’s role is getting curiouser. It is fast becoming a question of whom to believe. Do we believe Tehelka’s assertions based on what the former CNN IBN reporter is supposed to have told them? They have chosen to go on record with what he told them though he says he did not speak to them on record. And the story by Ashish Khetan asserts that CNN IBN held back crucial footage which would have nailed Amar Singh but Gautam says that he does not believe this was the case. He told Headlines Today that, and the Hoot as well.

Strangely, when CNN-IBN ran the story later and also when their team deposed before the probe panel, they suppressed the extent of the involvement of Sudheendra Kulkanri in the entire sting operation. They misled the panel about several crucial events during the sting operation and gave a false chain of events in their bid to downplay the role of Kulkarni, Advani and Jaitley. They also seem to have lied about a crucial link which could have closed the circle of circumstantial evidence linking the money with Amar Singh.
Disturbingly, Gautam told Tehelka that not only was he tutored by his superiors to blunt the impact of his own story when it was broadcast, by claiming that he did not know whether the men sitting in the tinted car were the BJP MPs, but that the channel also tutored his responses to the parliamentary panel and held back a key fragment of footage which showed the BJP MPs driving from Argal's residence to Lodhi Estate situated Amar Singh residence into the car. This footage would have nailed Amar Singh, who was given an escape clause when Gautam was made to say that he could not see if the BJP Mps had indeed been sitting in the white Zen.
Incidentally, a key Delhi Police officer told Tehelka, off the record, that he too suspected that the reporter had been tutored by the channel to put out only parts of the story.

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