The cobra has certainly struck. Aniruddha Bahal of cobrapost.com that executed the undercover sting is angry with insinuations that he targeted the BJP. "We followed the middlemen. We went to MPs they led us to. I find it ridiculous that I am being asked this. Is there a quota in investigations?" Also a key player in the Tehelka expose, Bahal is delighted that this time around till now he has not been hounded. "But please, write that on November 29 this year I had to take bail on a case involving the Officials Secret Act, slapped on me from the time of the NDA rule. I went to people in all the political parties, including Kapil Sibal of the Congress, but no one helped me."
He believes the reason the political class has accepted the expose is the quality of documentation and the improvement in video-audio quality. "They can't shoot the messenger every time. After my experience following the Tehelka scandal, I knew the burden of proof on me has to be very high. I did not take any chances." Besides the visuals shown on TV, Bahal says he has hours of footage involving the negotiations with the 11 MPs. "The tapes are with us. Before I am asked to hand them to any investigating agency, I would like a forensic examination."
He even has an explanation for the fact that the Left MPs were not caught on camera. "We asked the middlemen to take us to all parties. But most of them said that the Communists are not approachable in such matters. One said he would take us but never came up with any real MP." As for Mayawati's charge that he was working on an SP agenda, Bahal says: "I don't even want to dignify that with a response."
Bahal says he has more exposes planned. But what of the increased wariness of cameras and MPs' suggestions that detectors be placed in offices and homes? "They don't know what they are talking about. Technology is so sophisticated these days that a new camera will come out that can't be detected by an old radar or jammer. It will be impossible for them to keep up with the changing technology."
Bahal won't reveal where he hid his cameras—in a pen, handbag or watch. But after the scandal broke, he went to call on LS speaker Somnath Chatterjee. The speaker presented him with a pen.
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