May 2019 News

State BJP President, MLC Booked For 'bribing' Scribes

8 May 2019
The Tribune

Jammu: The Leh police on Wednesday registered an FIR against BJP leaders who allegedly tried to bribe journalists 'to influence the outcome' of the Lok Sabha polls in Ladakh. The FIR was registered on the directions of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Leh, after the court took cognisance of the case and the complaint filed by journalists of Leh and leaders of the Congress, who were seeking strict action against the BJP leaders. 'Since it is a non-cognisable offence, we received directions (for the registration of an FIR against the accused) from the court on Wednesday. Subsequent action will be taken,' Avny Lavasa, District Magistrate, Leh, told The Tribune. Sources said the journalists, after filing a complaint with the police, submitted the CCTV footage as evidence to the District Magistrate requesting her to forward it to the court. Under a non-cognisance offence, the FIR is filed on the directions of the court only. 'It is a serious issue and we will not let them go scot-free. The BJP should expel both leaders on moral grounds. We will hold a protest against the BJP leaders on Thursday for bribing journalists,' Congress candidate for Ladakh seat Rigzin Spalbar said. In the purported CCTV footage, BJP MLC Vikram Randhawa was allegedly seen handing out envelopes to journalists in the presence of the party's state unit chief Ravinder Raina on May 2. The opposition has stepped up attack on the saffron party for indulging in 'immoral' activities to influence the voters as party leaders were caught on camera. 'In light of the CCTV footage purported to show BJP leaders attempting to bribe journalists in Leh, I'm retweeting my original tweet with the letter of complaint by the Press Club Leh. Action must follow,' Omar Abdullah, National Conference vice-president, wrote on Twitter. Omar was reacting to the CCTV footage that has gone viral on the social media and also in the mainstream media, in which some BJP leaders, including the party's state president, Ravinder Raina, can be seen distributing envelopes among journalists at a hotel in Leh. Former MLC and Congress candidate for the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat Vikramaditya Singh urged the Election Commission of India and the J&K Police to initiate a swift investigation into the matter and take appropriate action against those guilty of the offence and violation of law and the model code of conduct. Vikramaditya said it was a matter of shame for the BJP that senior leaders could be involved in such corrupt practices while BJP central leaders continue to make claims of zero corruption and clean governance during the Modi government. The Congress leader extended full support to Leh journalists for exposing the BJP's misdeeds. President of the Press Club, Leh, Morup Stanzin has accused the BJP of bribing reporters during a press conference in Leh on May 2 to influence the election outcome and shift the narrative in the party's favour. Saffron party terms allegations baseless : Addressing a press conference in Jammu on Wednesday, the BJP said the allegations were politically motivated. 'All allegations of Leh journalists are baseless and misleading. They are being supported by anti-BJP elements in Kashmir and the Congress to malign the image of the party,' said BJP Ladakh in charge Vikram Randhawa. Randhawa, who along with state BJP president Ravinder Raina was accused of bribing the journalists, said the CCTV footage of the incident being circulated did not show the BJP leaders bribing the mediapersons.