Monday, Aug 08, 2022

Won't Apologise To BJP: Press Club Leh Chief Over 'Bribes To Media' Row

Morup Stanzin, the president of Press Club Leh, says the journalist body will not apologise to the BJP over the allegations of party's state leaders handing out cash-filled envelopes to journalists in Leh

Morup Stanzin, the president of the Press Club Leh says he won't apologise to the BJP over the 'bribing of media' row Facebook/PressClubLeh

Saying that he feels "satisfied" with the recommendations of the inquiry committee probing the allegations of BJP leaders handing out cash-filled envelopes to journalists in Leh, Morup Stanzin, the president of the Press Club Leh, said the journalist body will not tender an apology to BJP over the issue, as has been demanded by the saffron party's state president Ravinder Raina.

Speaking to Outlook over phone, Morup said they reported the matter to the DEO because they wanted to educate the society.

An inquiry ordered into the incident which happened just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the district, has, prima facie, found merit in the charges and the District Election Office is seeking directions from the court to register an FIR in the matter.

Avny Lavasa, Leh District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner, said, "On Tuesday, we approached the district court through police, seeking directions for registration of an FIR in the matter. However, the court has not issued any order in the matter so far."

On the recommendations of the DEO, Morpu who works as the Leh correspondent of the Daily Excelsior, said we are "satisfied" with the inquiry committee, but said it is very "unfortunate" that the state BJP leadership is "blaming the media without admitting their guilt".

"They have sent a letter to us, threatening to take us to the High Court, but we are true with (sic) our statement, and there is no question of saying sorry to them," said the chief of the Leh press body. "They are demanding an apology from us when we should take an apology from them," he added.

"We will stand by whatever the honourable court decides on the incident...there is no question of saying sorry to them," said Morup who has worked as a journalist in Leh for almost a decade said.

The Press Club Leh in its complaint had accused the BJP state president Ravinder Raina of trying to bribe journalists on Thursday at a hotel in Leh where the saffron party leader was addressing a press conference.

"After the press conference was over, BJP leaders including state president Ravinder Raina and member of legislative council Vikram Randhawa tried to bribe the reporters by offering money in envelopes in an attempt to use our platform to influence the outcome of elections," the complaint said, according to a report in the NDTV.

The press body had filed separate complaints with the District Election Officer and SHO, Leh, and also issued a statement on its Facebook page over the issue, saying they registered the complaint as the BJP leaders had tried to "belittle the dignity of media of Leh by offering them cash".

In response to the complaint, Raina had written a letter to Stanzin terming the allegations as "totally false, baseless, without any evidence and seems politically motivated”.

Seeking an apology, Raina had written that he will file a defamation case against the press body if it did not tender an apology over the allegations.

The Congress, led by former Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, will hold a peaceful protest rally from Leh Gate on Thursday over the issue.