The Times Now television news channel told the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday that it got the of Karnataka Assembly poll dates from “informed sources”, but argued that it could not be called a “leak”.
In its brief reply, the channel said: “Times Now news channel accessed the details from informed sources. Given that the information was not entirely accurate it is obvious it wasn’t a leak.”
The rest of the respondents who were identified by the EC Committee probing the said “leak” of dates — BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya, Karnataka Congress social media in-charge Srivatsa Y.B. and Kannada news channel Suvarna News — have told the commission that they got it from Times Now.
Malviya had clarified his source on Tuesday itself while the others responded on Wednesday.
Suvarna News in a letter to the EC on Wednesday said: “The news you are referring about was first broken by Times Now. After few minutes we took the same news.
“We would like to bring to your notice that one more Kannada news channel, BTV, was first to put this news. Then Suvarna News and Public TV aired the news almost simultaneously.
“Absence of vast network in national capital makes us follow reputed national news (channels). We do not have any source whatsoever inside Election Commission who could leak us the information before the press meet,” Suvarna News added.
Congress’s Srivatsa took a cue from BJP’s Malviya and gave very similar response.
“I hereby clarify that the source of my information was a newsbreak that I saw on Times Now TV channel at 11.06 a.m., which I then used to post my tweet. It’s my submission that my tweet wasn’t intended to infringe upon the constitutional mandate of the EC to conduct free and fair elections,” Srivatsa wrote.
He also attached screenshots of Times Now and his tweet.
Earlier in the day, the EC committee headed by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha and comprising Deputy Election Commissioners Sandeep Saxena, Sudeep Jain and Chandra Bhushan Kumar, Director General Dhirendra Ojha and Principal Secretary Standhope Yuhlung, met and sought responses from the persons or organisations whose names cropped up in the case.
The Committee is expected to give its report in seven days. It will also recommend how to “prevent any chances of such eventuality in future”.