The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has condemned a "totally false and baseless propaganda" by certain media organisations that the Supreme Court pulled up its chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday during the hearing of a case in connection with the Malegaon blasts.
"During the hearing in the Supreme Court, there was not even a mention of Bhagwat's name," RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement, pointing out that the news channels promptly took the report off air after the "apex court took cognizance and intervened in this news broadcast."
He accused the media of whipping up propaganda but not issuing the requisite denial after pulling out the false report.
"It was the responsibility of these same media organisations to broadcast a clarification accepting their error, which they failed to do," he said.
In fact, a score of dailies carried the same false report in their March 1 edition, alleged Vaidya.
Affirming that the RSS respects the Supreme Court as well as the freedom of the media, Vaidya said, "Yet the practice of disseminating news by certain media groups even before they could verify the underlying truth is sad and highly deplorable."
Incidentally, it was not the judges but Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal who had referred to RSS chief Bhagwat's interview in a national daily as amounting to comments on the merits of the case before the Supreme Court. Rawal was appearing for the National Investigation Agency.
The bench of Justices H L Dattu and Anil R Dave, which extended its interim order against the custodial interrogation of Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Srikant Purohit and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi, said it had not come across the report.
Wondering why such a statement was made when it was of no benefit to the case, the court actually pulled up the media, observing that the people who are reporting such news items also have a responsibility to do so correctly.
In the controversial interview, the RSS chief had claimed that Mumbai's Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare had met him five days before he were killed in the 26/11 terror attacks -- to seek the RSS' cooperation in certain investigations -- and told him that he was "under pressure to implicate right-wing outfits" in the Malegaon blasts and the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case.