| Nafisa Ali leads a march in New Delhi against Narendra Modi’s speeches. (PTI)
Ahmedabad, Sept. 19: A casual remark by government spokesman Purshottam Rupala about handing over the Modi “tapes” has created confusion in the Gujarat home department.
Additional chief secretary (home) Ashok Narayan today denied that the department possessed audiotapes of Narendra Modi’s controversial anti-minority speech, where he had described relief camps as breeding centres. So, there was no question of handing them over to the National Commission for Minorities, which had asked the government to submit a text of the chief minister’s September 9 speech.
Rupala today said he was “misquoted”. He said he had made a casual remark to a reporter and claimed that he had never said the government had the tapes. “I had only said that the government has nothing to hide. If we have the tapes we have no objection to hand them over to the National Commission for Minorities or any other agency. Since we do not have tapes, there is no question of handing them over to any agency,” he said.
Yesterday, the state government, after steadfastly denying the existence of the tapes, had admitted that audiotapes of Modi’s speech were in its possession. “We can make it (the tape) public. We have no intention to hide anything. If anyone asks for the tape we can give it,” Rupala was quoted as saying.
The admission came close on the heels of the transfer of three top intelligence officials. They were shunted out after a television channel aired the chief minister’s speech.
“We are still verifying the authenticity of the audiotape aired by a TV channel,” a top official of the home department said.
The official denied that the three senior IPS officers were transferred because of the alleged leak of the tapes as well as a sensitive internal document that had warned of the dangerous fallout of Modi’s speech.
“The transfers were routine,” the officer said. He, however, admitted that the transfer of the additional director-general of police (intelligence), R.B. Srikumar, who had taken charge on April 7, had come too early.
Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari today termed as “baseless, imaginary and surprising” reports in a section of the media that he had sought videotapes of Modi’s controversial speeches during the Gaurav Yatra.
The Governor also denied having met any reporters or having discussed the yatra during his visit to Shirdi in Maharashtra yesterday.
Bhandari reportedly told reporters at Shirdi that he had asked for videotapes from television channels that aired Modi’s anti-minority speech at Becharji during the yatra.