EC for lab test of Trinamool Naradanews sting video

By bappaditya paul

ELECTION Commission of India (EC) has decided to get examined the video footage of the naradanews.com sting operation wherein several Trinamool Congress leaders are seen taking bribe.

“This (CD of the sting video) has been given to us and this will be passed on to an appropriate authority for examination,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told a news conference in Kolkata this afternoon when reporters asked if the EC was contemplating any action on the exposé.

Zaidi’s colleague in the three member EC bench, Election Commissioner A K Jyoti explained that the bench had very little time to pursue the CD that was handed over to them by the Opposition political parties last evening.

“We cannot immediately react because we have not seen anything yet. The Commission will get it examined,” Jyoti said.

Neither Jyoti nor Zaidi clarified as to which is the “appropriate authority” that the EC would send the sting video for examination and what would be the deadline. They were also silent on the Opposition’s demand that those captured in the video as accepting bribe be barred from contesting the Bengal Assembly elections.

Highly placed sources in the EC said that the Commission was first likely to send the video to a Central forensic laboratory to verify the genuineness of the footages. If the footages are found genuine, the matter would then be referred to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Income Tax (I-T) department to trace the money trail of the bribe received.

EC, on its own, does not have any plan to refer the investigation to the CBI. But the DRI and the I-T department can subsequently rope in the CBI into the investigation.

This was on a day the BJP took out a protest march from its state headquarters to Dorina Crossing at Esplanade where the party activists jostled with police. Later a BJP delegation called on Governor K N Tripathi at Raj Bhavan and served him a memorandum demanding strict action against the Trinamool leaders shown in the sting video.  

The Left and the Congress too today hit the streets of Kolkata demanding immediate arrest of the Trinamool leaders captured in the sting operation.   

(Bappaditya Paul is editor NEWSMEN. This report first appeared on NEWSMEN on 15 March 2016.)

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