FIR registered against BJP MLC: DC Leh

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 5/10/2019 12:44:55 PM

`Leh media bribery’ case

LEH, May 9: Police registered an FIR against BJP leader and MLC Vikram Randhawa in connection with allegations that some journalists in Leh were offered bribes after a party press conference to influence the parliamentary polls.
District Election Officer (DEO) and Deputy Commissioner of Leh Avny Lavasa told reporters that only Randhawa was named in the FIR.
The case was registered under Section 171E (Punishment for bribery) and 171F (Punishment for undue influence or personation at an election) of the Ranbir Panel Code (RPC) warranting investigation, she said. The FIR was registered after the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Leh directed police on Wednesday to launch a probe into the matter.
Earlier the CJM had issued the order after pursuing the application and documents submitted before him. Congress candidate from Ladakh, Rigzin Spalbar and members of Press Club, Leh had lodged complaint with the Returning Officer alleging that on May 2 some leaders of the BJP offered packets containing cash to the media persons.
However, Randhawa termed the allegations as baseless and said the Congress was trying to malign the image of the BJP.
Randhawa, who is the BJP's Ladakh in-charge, said, “All allegations of Leh journalists are baseless and misleading. It was supported by anti-BJP elements in Kashmir and the Congress to malign the image of the party.”
On Saturday, the Press Club Leh had accused the BJP of trying to bribe its members by offering “envelopes filled with money” after a press conference. A two-page letter signed by several members of the Press Club was circulating on social media. A CCTV footage of the alleged incident also came to light.
Randhawa, however, claimed that the envelopes contained invitations for reporters for the coverage of Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Leh on May 4. The MLC said some media persons opened the envelopes and returned them, saying they ‘don't need special invitations’ as they were already covering the minister's visit.
BJP's state unit chief Ravinder Raina had supported a probe into the matter but also
questioned the claim of journalists asking why was the money not shown in the CCTV footage.
“They should have shown the notes after opening the packets. They had camera too. The press conference was held on May 2 and they could have shown it on the same day. Only on May 4 it came out in social media as a planned conspiracy to defame the BJP,” Raina had said in the press conference yesterday.
The BJP also said that it would sue the journalists for false claims and also formed as panel to investigate the case.



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