Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir: After a group of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh accused the BJP of “trying to bribe reporters for favourable coverage,” a CCTV footage of the same went viral.
The Leh journalists are accusing the BJP of handing out cash in invitation envelopes to influence the national election.
A video of the same has emerged wherein BJP lawmaker Vikram Randhawa can be seen handing out envelopes to journalists at a press conference. Party’s state unit chief Ravinder Raina was also present there.
Disha News cannot verify the authenticity of the video.
The press conference was held at Hotel Singge palace last week on Thursday.
On Friday, members of the Press Club in Leh had written to the local election officer, accusing Mr Raina of trying to bribe journalists.
The BJP has denied all the allegations. The party said legislator Randhawa was handing out invitation envelopes to the journalists for Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s rally in the region.
The party also said it will sue the journalists for defamation.
Rinchen Angmo, one of the journalists, had claimed that a senior BJP leader handed over envelopes to four journalists, including her, in front of the state BJP chief.
“When we asked what is in the envelope, they told us not to open it then and that it is a token of love. When I checked, I saw many Rs. 500 notes. I returned it to them. But they refused to take it back. So I kept it on the table,” Ms Angmo said.
The CCTV video shows a woman leaving an envelope on the table.
“We don’t believe in bribing anybody. We hold journalists in high esteem. BJP has never done such a thing and we will never do it,” a BJP leader said.
Electoral officers have already initiated steps to file a First Information Report (FIR) following the journalists’ complaint. District election officer Avny Lavasa said a probe was conducted after which the complaint has been sent to the local court.
Jammu and Kashmir politicians Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah have called for action after the video emerged.
“In light of the CCTV footage purported to show BJP leaders attempting to bribe journalists in Leh I’m retweeting my original tweet with the letter of complaint by the Press Club Leh. Action must follow,” Omar Abdullah of the National Conference tweeted.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti praised the journalists as well as Avny Lavasa for her ethical conduct of work.
Stay tuned for more updates!