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‘Cleared’ by CBI in CWG,Zoom focuses on Congress rallies

The court has given a date for hearing next month.

After engaging an outside broadcast service provider,which had come under the CBI scanner in connection with the 2010 Commonwealth Games coverage,to cover its public rallies,the Congress has now asked the firm to explain the current status of the controversy.

The firm in question is Zoom Communications,which was named in the Rs 246-crore Commonwealth broadcast case. A senior general secretary of the Congress,who did not wish to be named,said a decision on whether to continue engaging the firm will be reviewed by the party’s campaign committee.

The CBI had last year filed a closure report,clearing the then Prasar Bharati chief B S Lalli,UK-based SIS Live and its India partner Zoom Communications. However,the closure report is yet to be taken up by the court. The court has given a date for hearing next month.

Zoom Communications has so far covered two Congress rallies in Chhattisgarh,including the one in Rajnandgaon attended by Rahul Gandhi. It also covered Rahul’s public meeting in Delhi on Sunday. It is set to cover four or five rallies on ad hoc basis,according to a person privy to the information.

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Congress sources said they engaged Zoom to cover the rallies and give the feed to the party for states which are going to polls this month. The party is also looking at engaging the firm for the run-up to the general elections next summer. Sources also said after the party got to know that Zoom has not been completely exonerated of alleged irregularities in the broadcast deal,they asked it to give an explanation. So far,the firm has not given any explanation.

When contacted,Zoom Communications Ltd Managing Director Vaseem Ahmed Dehlvi,however,said no one from the Congress has sought any clarification. “Nobody has asked us for any clarification. There is no contract with the Congress. It is all on ad hoc basis. We have covered a few rallies and may cover a few more. That is all. It depends on the party whether they want to engage us more,” he told The Indian Express.

He said the company had been cleared by the CBI in the Commonwealth case. “The CBI filed a closure report almost a year ago. We are absolutely clean. There was a thorough investigation by the CBI. We have been cleared,” he said.

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Asked how it agreed to cover Congress rallies without a contract and written document regarding remuneration,he said,“Such things are a usual part of business. It is usual in day to day commercial business. There may be 20 commercial engagements for which the remuneration will be coming later.”

The Congress by roping in an outside broadcasting agency seems to be following the BJP model. BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi’s public meetings are covered by multiple cameras and this multi-camera feed,including shots of the crowd and speakers,is made available for live broadcast to news channels.

First published on: 18-11-2013 at 03:00:47 am
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