#AAMAADMIPARTY : WHAT DOES THE RAW FOOTAGE OF THE STING CD SHOW?
The Election Commission provided raw footage of the sting carried out by the media portal Media Sarkar.com to the Aam Aadmi Party on November 23, 2013. On careful analysis of the entire footage, we find that the edited footage circulated in the media in the last few days deliberates hides crucial pieces of video and hence misrepresents the conversations between sting reporters and AAP candidates.
In every case, our candidates were repeatedly approached by reporters for help. This is not uncommon for the candidates and party workers of the Aam Aadmi Party. For example, people approach our workers for filing FIRs when the police refuse to comply, or when government officials do not cooperate wit them. AAP volunteers are known to support those in distress in their demand for justice. In each of these cases, the reporter came to the candidate pleading for help and in the pretext that nobody else was ready to support their cause.
The following section compares the allegations made by the voice-over and the actual incidents in the raw footage:
1. Shazia Ilmi (R.K.Puram)
Allegation: Shazia Ilmi agrees to attend a demonstration against a company because she receives large cash donations. She agrees to accept these donations without any receipt.
What actually Happens: When the reporter approaches Shazia, she refuses to help without any documentary evidence. Shazia is clearly in a hurry to leave. When she stands up to leave a crucial piece of the footage has been edited out. Shazia says, “We will only do it if we have concrete evidence. I have been a TV journalist for so many years. Hum jhoot nahin bolenge. We will not lie.” She ends the conversation and is ready to leave when she is asked about donating to the Party. She says that donations can be made in cheque or cash and a receipt will be provided. When the reporter says she does not want a receipt, Shazia says cash be used to pay volunteer salaries (the word “seedha” is not used as claimed by the sting transcript) and the cash can shown ‘in that […volunteer stipend] account’. Shazia says Rs.20,000 can be paid by cheque and the reporter replies that they will pay ‘10’. There is no mention of lakhs as claimed by news channels. The reporter does not contradict Shazia when she mentions 25,000 and makes no reference to ‘lakhs of rupees’. Shazia tries to leave and reporter follows her. Shazia is seen saying “haan, haan” to evade the reporter. Finally when asked if Shazia would be willing to help if the reporter is unable to provide any evidence, she says it would be good if there was documentary evidence.
2. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
Allegation in the sting: He was ready to support the efforts for getting possession of property (which the reporter claims to have given advance for) in return for getting unaccounted for donations; that they would send his people to support the reporter to get access to his property.
What actually Happens: Reporter presents his grievance and says that the cash advance he gave for a flat is stuck and needs help in getting possession of the flat. Candidate asks about flat’s location. Then even before any money is offered, candidate says that we are with you once we are elected; we will stand by you and help you. When support is first offered, candidate says that he can’t go with reporter right now. To the repeated offers of support, the candidate does not respond. Candidate says the same thing before and after the offer, that once we are elected we will stand with you. He, too, is trying to walk out of the conversation. The shot is cut here in the sting CD. What the raw footage shows right after that (tape timing 14:59:59 onwards) is that after this the candidate clearly says, ‘Property possession can be gained honestly. I have earned my money with a lot of honesty. Everyone knows me in Phase 3. I will earn a little less money, but am happy in that. Even as a property dealer, I have earned far less than all other property dealers.’ He even suggests how to get the property formally registered. This is the person being called a ‘rajnaitik gunda’!
3. Dinesh Mohaniya (Sangam Vihar)
Allegation: He was ready to help in getting possession of a property, where the reporters cash advance was stuck, as if ‘this was the reason he has entered politics’
What actually Happens: Reporter presents his grievance and says that the cash advance he gave for a flat is stuck and needs help in getting possession of the flat. Offers support, says we will give any kind of platform; candidate does not accept offer but says that they can’t help anyone before elections. Says that he is in politics for social work. Reporter says that ‘everyone want a Bhagat Singh, but no one wants one in their own homes’, to which Dinesh Mohaniya says ‘It is only crazy people like ourselves who are willing to take this risk.’ Reporter persists that his Mamaji’s property is stuck. Candidate asks him to keep a meeting where they can have a discussion. When again offered support the candidate says that you do as you feel is ok. The candidate is offered support for a third time and asked for help, he says that when elections are going on you have to ignore everything, and I can’t help you. Reporter appeals that they are not getting possession of their property, to which the candidate says that it’s my duty to help you since you have come to me, but I can’t do anything as my hands are tied right now.
4. Irfanullah Khan (Okhla)
Allegation: Irfanullah Khan and his associate Wasim agree to help the reporter to recover cash from a third party in exchange for support.
What actually Happens: The context under which the allegations are made is completely missing. The raw footage shows that Irfanullah Khan is approached by an aggrieved Hindu, Yadav man who has been cheated by a Muslim property seller in a Muslim dominated area of Okhla. The man approaches Irfanullah for help. Irfan offers immediate support. Almost the entire conversation shows that Irfanullah is trying to exact the details of the location of the property and asks how he can assist the man. In the meanwhile, the reporters constantly speaks of his affluent background. He also offers a car, manpower etc. in support for election campaigning. Almost each time Irfan tells him that the party is based on strong moral principles and does not need any grandiosity (shor-sharaba) in his campaign. The sequence of events in the original video is disturbed and most of its commentary is false. The allegations are not supported by anything said by the candidate. Irfan emerges on the other side of the close scrutiny as another Aaam Aadmi hero, who deserves all our respect and admiration; once again diametrically opposite to what the sting would like us to believe.
5. Mukesh Hooda (Rohtas Nagar)
Allegation: In offer for ‘bouncers’ for capturing booths, Mukesh agrees to get the the reporters ‘phansa hua cash’ out after the election
What actually happens in the CD footage: The reporter makes three trips to the Mukesh Hooda’s office and each time it seems that the candidate has given him some time but doesn’t come to meet him. In the third visit he comes and sits in the office, where there is general conversation going on and the party volunteers are discussing whom they are going to send to polling booths. During this conversation the ‘reporter’ offers his help in ‘booth managing, capturing, and maintaining’ and it seems the candidate almost misses his offer and is fiddling on his phone. When he makes an offer of bouncers, the candidate looks up and gives him an amused look and ignores his offer. Reporter presents his grievance and says that the cash advance he have for a flat is stuck and needs help in getting possession of the flat. Candidate asks for papers and is not told nothing was done in writing. The candidate distractedly keeps saying ‘theek hai, ‘theek hai’. Then after the supposed offer of help, the candidate continues to ignore the ‘reporter’ for one hour. In the raw footage one sees general office activity, and the reporter keeps trying to follow the candidate. At one point in the raw footage (Embedded Time Code 20:26 ), the reporter draws Hooda out of a conversation to complain that he has been waiting for a long time. To this Hooda ji responds with an oblivious “haan” clearly showing that he is lost to all the hard work put by the reporter. The nods and the ‘haan haan’ of Hooda is nothing more than the politeness extended by any polite host to a guest.
6. Bhavna Gaur (Palam)
Allegation: The CD itself shows she didn’t make any promises and was in a hurry, but claims that she agreed to help them.
What actually Happens: Bhavna Gaur does not listen to the reporter’s story. We clearly see that the candidate has not listened to what the reporters says asks them not to disturb her. She is seen asking the reporter to get back to her in a few days; the body language and tone of speech clearly shows that she is evading them. Throughout the footage, she says that she is very busy.
7. Prakash (Deoli)
Allegation: Does not charge the candidate with dishonest behaviour, but highlights that candidates are puppets and real power is the party lies with senior leaders.
What actually Happens: The reporter claims to be a worker in the Hinduja National Power Corporation Ltd and shows interest in electricity provision in Delhi. He approaches the candidate on the pretext that since the Aam Aadmi Party carried out the bijli-paani aandolan (electricity and water campaign), the candidate should be able to help him in getting a government contract should the party come to power. The candidate responds by saying that if his company has the lowest rates, the contracts will be issued to them. He also says that he does not understand how government contracts are issues and suggests that the reporter to speak to party leaders. There are no allegations of corruption against the candidate even in the CD footage, but since the candidate refers the candidate to other party leaders, the reporter alleges that candidates do not have any power and act as mere “dummies” of the party.
8. Kumar Vishwas
Allegation: Kumar Vishwas accepts money in cash and no receipts are provided. Kumar also demands travel by Business Class and asks for a hotel suite.
What actually Happens: Reporter asks Kumar Vishwas and his personal assistant discuss the terms of engagement to speak at a Kavi Sammelan. Kumar notes that he will not attend the show unless he receives the entire payment for the show in advance. His personal assistant says that they allow for different forms of receipt, including a note in their formal letterhead. Kumar mentions that he can accept cash as well as check. This part of the footage is interpreted as Kumar accepting black money. However in the actual raw footage, this sentence is followed by a critical point – he says that cash or check, we will pay income tax on it. The personal assistant also notes that Kumar has always maintained clean accounts, even during a time when he hardly had any income. Kumar does ask for Business Class tickets and a hotel suite at any point in the footage. The reporter gives them cash, which the PA keeps in his pocket and the scene is cut.
9. Saurabh Bhardwaj (Greater Kailash) and Kapil Mishra (Karawal Nagar)
Allegation: The sting operators note that they did not come across a single “clean” candidate in the Aam Aadmi Party.
What actually Happens: The footage of two candidates in the raw footage – Saurabh Bhardwaj and Kapil Mishra is completely spot-free. They did not entertain any requests from the reporters. These candidates were not reported by the journalists.
Link to Video Clips:
1. Bhawna Gaur: https://app.box.com/s/
4. Kapil Mishra: https://app.box.com/s/
8. Shazia: https://app.box.com/s/