An Uttarakhand news channel, which repeatedly aired sting coverage showing Congress leaders in a bad light after March crisis, fears political vendetta from the restored Harish Rawat government.
Political observers say that such fears are not out of place as soon after Rawat won the floor test, he forcefully suggested that his government would “expose blackmailers” and wage a war against ‘corruption and land sharks’.
On March 26, Smachar Plus aired a video purportedly showing Rawat clinching a deal with its editor Umesh Kumar for bringing rebel MLAs back to the party fold. Rawat was to seek trust vote on March 28. A day earlier on March 27, the President Rule was imposed in the state.
Again on May 8, another sting video was aired that showed Congress MLA Madan Bisht claiming that Rawat paid money to 12 legislators to remain with him.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already filed a case against Rawat in the first case. The Chandigarh-based Central Forensic Science Lab (CFSL) in its report had found sting CD true. As per Kumar, CFSL is examining another CD of the sting video.
Samachar Plus editor Umesh Kumar said he feared political vendetta and added that he would move court if the Congress led coalition government in Uttarakhand harassed him.
“Harish Rawat has made several wild allegations after the first sting was aired. I am getting the feelers that police action is being mulled against me,” said Kumar on Thursday, adding “we will continue to exposing the corrupt.”
In July last year a journalist Ashok Pande released a CD that allegedly showed one Md Shahid, then personal secretary to chief minister Rawat bargaining with a middleman for awarding liquor business rights.
Pande’s under construction shopping complex in Dehradun was soon demolished on charges of irregularity.
Surendra Kumar, media in-charge for CM, denied the government was biased against those who shot the sting video. “But what we can do if someone is feeling guilty (for wrong doing)” he added.
Nonetheless, Umesh Kumar whose began his journalistic career from Dehrdaun in early 2000 has a ‘Y’ security. Kumar had good relations with almost all chief ministers except Ramesh Pokriyal Nishank, who was allegedly instrumental in getting his properties in Uttarakhand.
Kumar, who had then gone underground, could be seen with senior BJP leaders when Nishank was replaced with BC Khanduri.