Gujarat lawyer says he read out ‘script’
He is the first among those who figure in the recent Tehelka-Aaj Tak sting relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots to acknowledge that the camera had not lied.
Public prosecutor Arvind Pandya, counsel for the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission probing the riots, did not deny the indiscreet remarks he was shown making in the tapes. He had been dismissive of both the judges of the commission, calling one “our man” and the other a man “only after money”.
But, at a press conference on Saturday, he claimed he had uttered those words under the impression that he was rehearsing for a television serial.
Announcing that he had resigned as counsel, he maintained the correspondent of Aaj Tak channel, Dhimant Purohit, had offered him a role in a serial the channel was purportedly producing.
“I have known Purohit for many years. He told me his channel was making a reality show on the riots and they wanted real-life persons to act,” he said.
Pandya added that he had been simply reading out from a script handed to him when he was captured on hidden camera.
Pandya could not explain, however, how he failed to see something amiss in a script, which used names of judges identical with those he was appearing before.
Pandya has filed criminal cases against Purohit and two others, charging them with cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, fraud, trespass and breach of communal harmony. Purohit has sought anticipatory bail.