Operation Duryodhan, Part 13
Director: Aaj Tak, Cobrapost
Duration: 00:36:49; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 4.206; Saturation: 0.105; Lightness: 0.399; Volume: 0.227; Cuts per Minute: 4.671; Words per Minute: 29.842
AB: The important point here is, the story idea has been announced in public.
...A national daily, Hindustan Times, carried a column that there is such a story idea, that someone should explore it.
...It also talked about how to go about it, whatever it is. I had suggested a TV channel on the way to go about it instead of talking of people's private lives.
AB: Now the announcement was already public. It was after this that they sent a notice to me. I asked them why they are sending a notice to me.
...All I have done is given a story idea. I haven't taken names and accused them of doing things.
AB: It's natural that when a normal citizen is issued a notice, the person is afraid a bit. He wonders why it has happened and what if he is wrong?
[continues] That's when I thought that if summoned... I respect Somnathji a lot.
...He had helped us a lot when the NDA government was harassing us at Tehelka.
[continues] I thought of taking some examples to him to attest my claims.
AB: That's how Operation Duryodhan began and by the end, you have these MPs and all the tapes, phonecalls.
AB: There was a significant contribution of my colleagues Suhasini Raj... Kumar Badal also helped a lot in the beginning.
AB: In some ways, it was a long term [exercise] but you must understand that we are a team of amateurs.
AB: I keep telling people that we are not professionals... we are not from an intelligence agency or from somewhere else.
AB: Any smart MP, in a way, could have seen through us. Now what could be the reasons?
AB: Don't they check up on people, whether the story they are telling about NISMA is authentic or not?
AB: 'Give me your visiting card, letterhead.' 'Give us your phonecalls, landline number, ID cards'... There was nothing.
AB: We spent only a little amount. If there was a big corporate, it would be ready to spend big amounts.
AB: So were they influencing the policy all this while? Will they do it now?
AB: If a small-timer can go this far... They are telling you they will table questions, issue petitions, move private member bills, create a ruckus in the zero hour...
AB: ...we will move it through one of the several provisions in the Parliament... If we were genuinely a power bloc, genuinely wanting to influence them...
AB: ...then where would we have reached?
A: Were you never countered on any level?
A: You are wearing a wig, wearing a suit. Didn't anyone counter you saying, we are suspicious of you.
AB: That came towards the end stages. But by then, the story was done. The people who were suspicious later... we had also been a bit careless...
AB: But the thing is, it should have been there at the beginning. We also have Tehelka as an example.
AB: After that, others, even Aaj Tak has done such great operations. There was one about income tax, Tihar...
AB: In fact, in the days we launched in May, the Tihar episode was on Aaj Tak. So people had that on their mind.
AB: The brokers, especially, were wary on whether there is a sting on. There were several such obstacles.
AB: Some brokers cornered our reporter in Hotel Ashok, asking her if she was conducting a sting,
AB: ...that they had information from the IB that she was a reporter.
AB: But the reporter handled it with a lot of maturity. Otherwise, this would have been over a long time ago. Our identity would have been disclosed.
AB: Bhai, the danger was there right from the beginning. You are going to such people... there are also middlemen.
AB: Then there are brokers, on top of it the MPs. For our reporter... we were always out... in 99% cases, I was always out till the end.
[continues] If someone happens to discover the camera or it gets physical, then I am around for protection. There was another person with me.
AB: Another thing is, the reporter had an object that, if pulled, becomes a sound grenade. That would have easily scared people.
AB: She also had a pepper gun. Say if someone steals the money or if the MP does something, she could use the pepper spray.
AB: Self defense is important. You guys are taking money, doing such things and it is in front of the nation, so we have to be concerned about our protection.
AB: And... call us lucky that the suspicions were aroused only at the end stage when the story was done.
[continues] There were suspicions at the beginning too. MP Pradeep Gandhi once inspected our bag - you must have seen the image - but couldn't find anything.
AB: We also kept the bag aside. After that he was after us. There were several phone calls. He came to my place twice, spoke to my mother
AB: ...to save him in some way. So this is how... Chandelsaab also called up our reporter. These are all recorded calls...
[continues] Even he was suspicious. He is taking my name and asking who I am, etc. So the sermons that he was giving earlier on the TV...
AB: If these phone calls are played, then everyone will...
A: We would definitely like to know since there are 56 videotapes, perhaps more.
A: More than 70 audiotapes are there and 900 taped phone-calls. There are a few things that have not been told.
A: After this break, we will...
V: After this incident, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee seemed quite affected (?). Calling it a shame on democracy, he has appealed...
[continues] ...the MPS seen on the camera accepting bribes to not enter the premises till the investigations are over.
Somnath (S): I shall certainly ask the honorable members to explain what has happened
...and in the meantime, I am making a personal request to all of them, please don't attend the session of the house...
...until the matter is looked into and the decision is taken.
V: The speaker called for an all-party meeting for the investigations. It was decided that the members state their sides within three days. Aaj Tak bureau.
A: ...the money can also be taken in such a form. The MPs have always harped on about ethics. It is possible that MPs have raised such questions in their electorate or inside the Parliament.
A: The information given by Aniruddha also includes those dimensions that have the language one doesn't use in a normal social discourse.
A: Even such things have been recorded and has come to light. However, we are not talking about it because this is a matter of ethics for us too.
A: But we will take this aspect and continue with the reports. For now, it's time for a break.