Few days after journalists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh division filed an official complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for allegedly offering them bribes during a press conference in Leh, the local administration examined CCTV footage of the alleged incident to ascertain the truth.
In the CCTV clip, BJP legislator Vikram Randhawa is seen handing out envelopes to journalists in the presence of the party’s state unit chief Ravinder Raina. Awaaz Nation cannot verify the authenticity of the video.
Rinchen Angmo, one of the journalists, had claimed that a senior BJP leader handed over envelopes to four journalists, including her, in front of the state BJP chief. The leader urged them not to open the envelopes in the hall, Ms Angmo said.
“I got suspicious and opened it. I found some 500 rupee notes inside the envelope. I returned it to him but he refused to take it; I kept it (envelope) on a table,” she said. The CCTV video shows a woman leaving an envelope on the table.
The saffron party has threatened to sue the journalists who went public with claims of receiving money.
The BJP has denied the allegations saying they were “politically motivated” and demanded an apology from the club.
BJP state president Ravinder Raina also threatened to file a defamation suit if the body did not issue a public apology.
Press Club Files Complaint
An enquiry has been ordered into the matter by the district election officer after a complaint was filed by the Press Club, NDTV reported. In its complaint, the journalist body accused the BJP state President Raina and MLC Vikram Randhawa of trying to bribe journalists.
Press Club, Leh, President Morup Stanzin told PTI, “We have lodged our complaint with deputy commissioner, Leh, who is also the returning officer on Friday… After a press conference, Randhawa handed over the envelops filled with money to some journalists who returned these to him immediately.”
Raina refuted the claim, saying he had left the room immediately after the press conference was over on 2 May at around 1:30 pm as he had interviews lined up with media groups.
The BJP had won Ladakh in the 2014 election by defeating the Congress candidate by just 36 votes. The party, however, suffered a setback after lawmaker Thupstan Chhewang resigned from the BJP in November. Several other leaders from Ladakh also left the party.
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