A local TV reporter facing allegations of instigating the molestation of a girl was questioned by police and its editor-in-chief resigned today, a week after the crime was caught on video in an incident over which a top police officer in Guwahati was shunted out.
Atanu Bhuyan, the editor-in-chief, resigned today after expressing doubts over an impartial inquiry into the allegations that a journalist from his network had instigated the incident outside a pub on the night of July 9.
Addressing a press conference at the Guwahati Press Club, Bhuyan said he was surprised at chief minister Tarun Gogoi's comment on Monday criticising his reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog for not informing the police.
"After Gogoi's comment, Neog was picked up by the police and interrogated for four hours before being released. We fear the inquiry will not be impartial as the police may be influenced by Gogoi's comment," he said.
Bhuyan said he also came to now from "various sources" that the chief minister had wished that he (Bhuyan) should resign.
"Such comments may put a pressure on the management of the channel, which is still supporting me, and it in turn may pressure me in the future. Therefore, to avoid such a situation I have decided to resign."
Bhuyan pointed out that he was not resigning on "grounds of moral responsibility" and stood by his reporter who did his job.
Defending Neog, he said, "It was only because of the footage recorded by him that 12 of the culprits have been arrested."
Neog has already resigned from the organisation on July 15 following allegations by RTI activist Akhil Gogoi that he had instigated the molestation on July 9.
Akhil Gogoi claimed that the molestation of the 17-year-old girl after a mob was institgated may have been part of a greater conspiracy to tarnish the image of the chief minister and destabilise the government.
City SSP Apurba Jiban Baruah, who had termed the class XI student's ordeal as a stray incident that was hyped by the national media, has been transferred to Dibrug.
A three-member team of senior editors will meanwhile visit Guwahati to look into allegations about the role of mediapersons in the coverage of the molestation case.