Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sting operation on cash-for-votes

Most broadcast organisations have rushed to the defence of CNN-IBN and have criticised the BJP for its handling of the sting operation in the cash-for-votes affair. Readers would know that CNN-IBN has withheld broadcast of the tape. The BJP has said it will not entertain the channel until it airs the tape.

Today's Business Standard has an edit that argues in favour of airing the tape and it also suggests that balance of evidence is tilting against Amar Singh and company:

With the BJP on Monday releasing more information on the link between a certain Sanjeev Saxena, who gave its MPs money to support the government, and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh — the party alleged that Mr Saxena’s son’s college admission form has Amar Singh’s residence address on it — the circumstantial evidence in the cash-for-votes scandal appears to point in only one direction.

Earlier, on Sunday, the BJP had alleged that mobile phone records showed calls were made from Mr Saxena’s mobile to Amar Singh’s residence when Mr Saxena was at the house of one of the BJP MPs, handing over the cash (how the party got the phone records could well be the next controversy!). The party also said the car that Mr Saxena used was registered at an address that belonged to Amar Singh.

To establish that the two were closely linked, the party showed old SMSs sent by Mr Saxena to journalists, inviting them to Mr Singh’s press conferences. If all that the BJP says is true with regard to telephone records, car identity and college admission forms, there is strong justification for the television channel CNN-IBN to air the sting operation and let the public make up its mind.

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