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No reason to think Varun CD tampered: CEC

A day after saying it was up to Varun Gandhi to prove that the hate-speech videos were doctored.....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Bhubaneswar |
March 21, 2009 1:26:07 am

A day after saying it was up to Varun Gandhi to prove that the hate-speech videos were doctored,Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami said in Bhubaneswar that he saw “no reason” to believe that the CDs were doctored.

“As we saw it,we have no reason to think it (the video) is tampered. For me there is no doubt… He (Gandhi) will find his own ways to show how the CD was tampered,” Gopalaswami said towards the end of a press conference.

In Kolkata yesterday,the CEC had said: “We are not in the business of proving his allegations. Varun Gandhi will have to prove his allegations that the tapes were doctored.”

In his reply to the Election Commission filed today,Gandhi asked certain questions of the EC,such as who all “handled the CD” which has recordings of his speech before it reached the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commission.

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The EC issued a notice to the BJP’s Pilibhit candidate earlier this week,asking why “action should not be taken against him” for allegedly making inflammatory and specifically anti-Muslim remarks in at least three rallies in the constituency.

In his reply,sources said,Gandhi contended that the voice and pictures were not his,and that these “may have been doctored”. He is learnt to have said that while “he has a soft voice”,the voice in the CD was “clearly different”. He has asked the EC to withdraw the notice.

Unlike in his “clarification” two days ago,in which he said he was “giving hope to the hopeless” and alleged “persecution of the local community,” he made no comments on the contents of the speech.

Despite doubts about its jurisdiction to grant anticipatory bail,the Delhi High Court today went ahead with giving Gandhi a week’s immunity from arrest. Justice Reva Khetrapal allowed him interim bail till March 27 against a personal surety of Rs 50,000. This means Gandhi will be eligible for immediate bail if he is arrest at any time up to March 27,the next date of hearing.

An FIR has been registered against him in UP under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code,and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.

The BJP sent its reply to the EC,dissociating itself from the contents of the CD,though also asking the poll panel to “check the authenticity of one the CDs”.

“The BJP categorically states that it completely disagrees,disassociates and disapproves of the contents of the CD as sent to us,” said the letter signed by R Ramakrishna,convener of the party’s election cell. “Merely because a member of the party has expressed views contrary to what the party stands for,the party cannot be vested with any responsibility,” it said,adding “the party is also independently looking into the matter”.

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