In an explosive revelation, a former head of SIT, Vikash Narain Singh, has alleged that the English news channel, NewsX, recently ‘blocked’ his interview after learning that his views on the possible culprits of Samjhauta Express blasts contradicted with the channel’s editor.
In a Facebook post, Rai, who headed the SIT to probe Samjhauta Express blasts of February 2007, wrote, “The News X channel contacted me today and sent their team of reporter and cameraman to my residence at around 1 pm. They put me on camera and connected me to their anchor (Mr Rahul) in the studio who asked specific questions in the context of Samjhauta explosion of February 2007, to which I gave answers.
“The conversation went on for 20-25 minutes or so and I was told that it will be part of their evening telecast. I had headed the SIT (Special Investigation Team) that was constituted to investigate the explosion. I had categorically stated to News X that the SIT had totally ruled out the involvement of any Pakistani hand or Simi group in the dastardly crime. In fact, I categorically told them that our perception was pointing to involvement of Hindu elements, which was shared time and again by SIT in discussions at MHA.
“I also told about the emergence of names of Sunil Joshi and two others. I shared my conversation with late Mr Hemant Karkare of Maharashtra ATS, which confirmed our perception about Hindu elements involvement. To my horror, in their ongoing TV debate, the NewsX have not only blocked my interview completely but the anchor is time and again building up a case that the Haryana SIT had unearthed connection of the crime with SIMI. It is nothing but a fabricated lie for which the TV channel and their anchor are squarely responsible.”
Rai later confirmed that the Facebook post had indeed been written by him.
He told jantakareporter.com, “It was quite bizarre and disappointing that they would black out my interview just because I didn’t name the involvement of SIMI. I was shocked to see how the channel had resorted to unethical means to suit their agenda.”
The blasts in Samjhauta Express in February 2007 near Panipat in Haryana had killed 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals.
Rahul Shivshankar, the channel’s editor-in-chief, told jantakareporter.com that it was a ‘malicious attack’ by Rai.
He said, “We never mentioned Mr Rai. And neither has he mentioned we mentioned him. Please check your facts. It is a malicious attack.”
Speaking to news portal Newsminute, Shivshankar said that he would have appreciated if Rai had ” first checked with me why I may not have carried his interview before going public.”
He said, “Do not confuse what panellists are saying with NewsX’s position. Our investigation was about file notings on MHA files and questions it threw up. It was not on the investigation per se…I would have assumed that he would have spoken to me before going public in the interest of fairness and balance. I see a motive behind this ambush and that too on social media.”
(Photo: Indian Express)