FIR Filed Against J&K BJP Leaders for Attempt to Bribe Journalists

A Leh district court has directed the Station House Officer of Leh to investigate the matter under law.

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Acting on a court directive, police on Wednesday, 8 May, filed an FIR against Jammu and Kashmir BJP leaders for their attempt to bribe some journalists in Leh. “An FIR has been lodged against the BJP leaders on court’s directives and investigations have been taken up ,” a police official told Greater Kashmir.

This comes after the journalists involved wrote a letter demanding an FIR post the incident, following which Leh police took the matter to the deputy commissioner’s office. The office, after conducting a preliminary investigation, said that the complaints had some credence, reported ThePrint.

The matter was then taken to a district court in Leh, which, according to a letter signed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, found “prima facie commission of non-cognizable offences punishable under Sections 171E and 171F RPC warranting investigation.” The court further directed the Station House Officer of Leh to investigate the matter under law.

FIR Filed Against J&K BJP Leaders for Attempt to Bribe Journalists
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Attempt to Influence Outcome of Elections, Claim Journalists

Seven journalists of the Press Club of Leh, in a letter written on 3 May to the SHO, had alleged that after a press conference organised by the BJP on 2 May, the leaders of the party including President Ravinder Raina and MLC Vikram Randhawa handed them envelopes containing money as an attempt to use the journalists to “influence the outcome of the elections”.


The letter said that the journalists refused the bribe and that they condemned the action of the politicians. It further asked the SHO to register an FIR against Raina and Randhawa for violating the Model Code of Conduct.

FIR Filed Against J&K BJP Leaders for Attempt to Bribe Journalists
(Photo: The Quint)
FIR Filed Against J&K BJP Leaders for Attempt to Bribe Journalists
(Photo: The Quint)

The CCTV footage of the incident has also emerged, where several BJP leaders, including the party's state president Ravindra Raina, can be seen distributing envelopes among journalists. However, as soon as the journalists opened the envelopes, they returned those to the BJP leaders.

Omar Abdullah Condemns Action

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday, 8 May, said action must be taken in the alleged bribery of journalists by BJP leaders in Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.

Abdullah, in another tweet, praised the journalists for their integrity and honesty.

The J&K Congress has also asked the Election Commission (EC) to initiate action against the BJP leaders over their attempt to bribe the Leh-based reporters, PTI reported.

BJP to Set up Panel to Probe Charge

The BJP's J&K unit will set up a committee to probe the allegation, the party's state unit chief Ravinder Raina said on Wednesday, reported PTI.

Raina also said he will file a defamation case against the Press Club Leh for naming him in the bribery complaint, which he termed as "politically motivated".

“There will be a probe into it. We will set up a committee to probe the allegation of scribes of Leh,” he said.

Raina said that he is moving an application in Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking narco-test of the scribes and BJP leaders including him. "If anybody from the party is found involved, he will be dealt severely," the state BJP president said.

Raina said that the committee will submit its report after visiting Leh, where it will talk to journalists and others and review the CCTV footage. Raina also questioned the claim of the journalists, asking why the money was not shown in the CCTV footage, reported PTI.

"They should have shown the notes after opening the packets. They had a camera too," he said.


Envelopes Contained Invitations to Sitharaman’s Visit

Meanwhile, BJP MLC Vikram Randhawa denied the bribery charge and alleged the episode was the handiwork of anti-party elements in Kashmir sponsored by the Congress.

“All allegations of Leh journalists are baseless and misleading. It was supported by 'anti-BJP elements in Kashmir' and Congress to malign the image of the party,” Randhawa, who is the party's Ladakh in-charge, said, reported PTI.

“The CCTV grab being circulated on the social media is of the invitation envelopes being given to reporters for the coverage of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Leh on 4 May. This is being shown as if money is being given to them,” the MLC claimed.

He said that some media persons opened the envelopes and returned them saying they don't need special invitation as they were already covering the event.

(With inputs from PTI , Greater Kashmir and ThePrint.)

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