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'No proceeding against CNN-IBN Chief Editor'

Rajdeep Sardesai let off without his personal appearance in UP Vidhan Sabha, reports Umesh Raghuvanshi.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 18:27 IST

An inquiry committee of Vidhan Sabha in its interim report had held Rajdeep

The CNN-IBN Chief Editor Rajdeep Sardesai was let off without his personal appearance in Vidhan Sabha that had resolved that he produced before it in police custody for breach of privilege in "Neta Bikta Hai" sting operation case.

Sardesai responsible for causing obstruction in the functioning of committee and breach of privilege by not turning up before the committee and also not providing original CD of sting operation that CNN-IBN and Channel-7 had telecast on February 15, 2006.

After nearly four-hour long discussions with Rajdeep Sardesai and leaders of various political parties Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey declared that a decision not to proceed against CNN-IBN Chief Editor has been taken.

"We are not backtracking on the issue. We have not expressed regret on merits of the case. The CNN-IBN was continuing with sting operations even now," said Rajdeep Sardesai.

Asked if there was any justification in keeping him waiting in Speaker's chamber Rajdeep said he would not like to make any comments on the privileges of House. "This is however time that issue should be taken to Supreme Court. There should also be a public debate on privileges," he said. Rajdeep said sting operations were not being conducted for commercial reasons.

"Action should be taken against those who have accepted bribe," said Rajdeep who also stressed upon the need of unity in media on such issues. A News Broadcasters Association has been formed in New Delhi to take up such issues, he said.

There was a need to take up the cases of individual reporters cameramen with the seriousness with which the cases concerning Editors were taken up, he said.
Earlier Speaker declared that the leaders agreed not to proceed against Rajdeep in view of 'regret' that the latter had expressed in a letter sent on October 13, 2006.

"My absence has neither been deliberate nor intentional and I have never intended to denigrate the majesty of the august House or the authority of its Investigating Committee. Any impression that may have formed to the contrary is unintentional and is regretted," said Sardesai in his letter to Speaker.

A hectic activity was witnessed outside Speaker's chamber even as leaders of various political parties and Rajdeep remained closeted with Speaker for over four hours.

The Congress President Sonia Gandhi is also learnt to have enquired about the party's stand in the case when CLP Leader Pramod Tiwari received her at Amausi airport here this morning.

Besides Speaker and Rajdeep Sardesai those present on the occasion included the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Leader of Opposition Lalji Tandon and the Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was also closeted with Speaker and the CNN-IBN chief editor however left before Speaker came out to speak to media persons.

Asked about the delay in providing the original CD Rajdeep said the CNN-IBN was holding legal consultations. This was the reason that original CD was not given to Vidhan Sabha earlier, he said.

Speaker said the inquiry into the case and charges against legislators would however continue.

First Published: Dec 06, 2006 18:27 IST