Litigants want probe into media leak of classified court panel videos

Litigants in the Gyanvapi case have demanded a probe into news channels obtaining video footage of the mosque inspection after they were given copies of the video. The Varanasi district court had provided litigants copies of the video on Monday.

Rakhi Singh – one of the five plaintiffs who sought permission to ‘pray at the Shringar Gauri idols on the western wall of the mosque’ – asked the district court to order a CBI probe into the leak. After videos and photos related to the commission were provided to litigants, many news channels started broadcasting the footage, Singh said in her plea and added she feared ‘anti-national forces could be at play.’ Singh said broadcasting such footage was a ‘heinous crime’ as it ‘concerned security of the nation.’

The Varanasi district court had on Monday made the litigants undertake a promise not to make public the contents of the survey report and video and photographic footage inside the mosque, collected by a court appointed advocate commissioner recently.

However, soon after the footage was provided to the litigants on Monday evening, many news channels broadcast the classified content, raising questions on the source of the leak. The plaintiffs defended themselves with advocate Vishnu Jain claiming the footage remained in sealed covers and would be returned to the court. Four plaintiffs came to court on Tuesday to return the footage chips in sealed packets.

Counsel for the Anjuman Intezamia Mosque Committee Abhay Nath Yadav told ET that he too had demanded probe against all involved in handling the content, right from the moment the videography was done to when it was submitted to the court, including the court commissioners, police officials and court officials, to find out who was responsible for the leak. He demanded action against the culprits. “I was shocked to see the footage aired. It is extremely unfortunate, and we have demanded an enquiry,” Yadav said. The next date of hearing is July 4.

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