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Stung UP assembly up against TV channels
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
September 14, 2006 23:19 IST
The Uttar Pradesh state assembly on Thursday charged two prominent national television channels of committing 'breach of privilege,' because they exposed a UP minister and two legislators accepting and demanding bribes in a sting operation telecast in February last.
An 11-member privileges committee of the House, which was entrusted with an inquiry into the operation, has pointedly accused prominent journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who heads the two channels (CNN-IBN and Channel 7) of committing 'breach of privilege' by carrying out the sting operation.
The operation not only showed the legislators accepting wads of currency notes as bribes but UP's Backwards Welfare Minster Mehboob Ali offering his services as 'carrier' of contraband stuff, including drugs. The minister, belonging to the ruling Samajwadi Party, had gone to the extent of expressing his willingness to cart opium and heroin in his official vehicle for a fat price.
The other two legislators exposed in the sting operation were Sumaru Ram Saroj of the Bhartiya Janata Party and Anil Kumar Maurya of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The committee had initially resolved to recommend disqualification of the legislators as also to register cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act against them. What prompted the committee to take a U-turn against the TV channels could be anybody's guess.
However, Dr Narendra Kumar Singh Gaur, a former Bharatiya Janata Party legislator who has now resigned from the committee told media persons: "I resigned because committee members decided to reverse their own decision taken on July 17 at a subsequent meeting on July 25."