Rs 500 bribes at NHAI event

BY SARADA LAHANGIR| IN Regional Media | 24/07/2017
Media kits at Nitin Gadkari function had Rs 500 tucked inside.
SARADA LAHANGIR reports

Journalists display the money they received


Envelopes containing Rs 500 were distributed at an event attended by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari at Angul in Odisha on Friday. When reporters opened the envelopes given to them by an employee of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), they were taken aback. 

"We just assumed there will be some leaflets and an information kit but really we were not aware that Rs 500 was in there"

 

“We were shocked when we saw a Rs 500 note inside. Many of us lost our temper and started shouting but ministry officials said they were ignorant about this. But how it is possible? We went to file an FIR against the bribe. The police has filed a station diary and are investigating the matter,” said journalist Diptanshu Sekhar Dash.

The NHAI official present on the occasion Shivendra Singh Pathihar said: “We had been asked to provide a booklet in the folder leaf. We have not checked it out, what is in there. We just assumed there will be some leaflets and an information kit but really we were not aware that Rs 500 was in there,’ he said.

"We requested the BJP local leader to meet Gadkari and bring this to his notice but the state BJP president Basant Panda, told us that he had left"


Gadkari, along with Union Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, was attending the inaugural ceremony for a stretch of highway in Angul. The event was organised as a bhumi poojan of the four national highway projects (Angul-Sambalpur, Tileibani-Sambalpur, Balasore-Jharpokharia and Baharagora-Singhara stretches). After the event, Gadkari did not meet the journalists. “We requested the BJP local leader to meet Gadkari and bring this to his notice but the state BJP president Basant Panda, told us that he had left from the other side of the gate,” said a TV journalist.

Ruling party Biju Janata Dal minister and vice president, Surya Narayan Patro, said:  “The National Highways Authority is an organisation of the Central Government. Somebody must have asked them to distribute money. It is very unfortunate the BJP tried all means to bribe journalists, the forth pillar of democracy.  As the media persons were kept waiting for long, for hospitality’s sake, food arrangement could have been made. But offering money is beyond my imagination.”

But the BJP’s Odisha spokesperson, Sajjan Sharma, called it a ‘’conspiracy’’ against the BJP.  ‘’As the NHAI was solely organizing this function it is their responsibility to look into the matter. Why unnecessarily blame the BJP?’

 

The Hoot is the only not-for-profit initiative in India which does independent media monitoring. Your support is vital for this website. Click here to make a contribution.
Subscribe To The Newsletter

Self censorship at NDTV is a can of worms whose lid is prised open occasionally only to be tamped down again. But the most recent disclosure by Sreenivasan Jain a couple of days ago has led to a long outpouring by Barkha Dutt on her Facebook page about the selective censorship at that channel. And then another censored former colleague Nitin Gokhale who had quit the channel in 2014 after an interview with an outgoing Navy chief was not carried, is now speaking up too.                                              

Srinivasan Jain of NDTV posted on his Facebook page that a report by him and a colleague  on loans given to Jay Shah's companies was taken down from NDTV's website because the channel's lawyer said it needed to be removed for 'legal vetting'. He adds that it has still not been restored though  the report is based entirely on facts in the public domain  and "makes no unsubstantiated or unwarranted assertions". He says he is treating this as a distressing aberration and will continue reporting for NDTV.                                     

View More