High drama over tab row, IPad to be sent to FSL, Privilege committee to probe, MLA says allegation baseless, Congress MLAs suspended

TV news channels show this clip blurring the Ipad tab screen. It creates impression that the MLAs were watching something ‘indecent’ that couldn’t be shown on TV in public! Now here, we show the clip without blurring the screen of the Ipad. There’s nothing objectionable visible in this clip which is captured by one of the journalists sitting in the press gallery of the assembly house using blackberry phone camera. MLA Jethabhai Bharwad requested media to show the clip without blurring the Ipad screen. He said the media should show what he was watching actually. While media still show blurred screen, we show it here, and we find nothing objectionable.

Ahmedabad, 21 March, 2012

There was high drama in Gujarat assembly after reports in some newspapers that couple of BJP MLAs were watching indecent photos and clips in Gujarat assembly yesterday during the session.

A group of journalists alleged that they saw Gujarat BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary and Jethabhai Bharwad watching indecent pictures in the house when minister Narottam Patel was giving speech.

On the basis of these reports, Gujarat Congress today demanded suspension of both the MLAs. Opposition MLAs were later suspended from the house for one day for creating ruckus.

Later BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary called a press conference and said that the allegation against him was baseless and false, and he is not the type of person who would see indecent stuff. Chaudhary said that he had never seen such stuff in his life. He said the issue is being propelled with intention to malign him due to political motives.

Chaudhary said that the assembly house has CCTV cameras, and one should access all footage captured by cameras before pointing allegations.

The latest development in this row is that the issue has been handed over to privilege committee. Tablet in question will be handed over to Forensic Science Laboratory for test.

Shankarbhai Chaudhary speaking to press

About the row:

Radhanpur MLA Shankar Chaudhary and Shehra MLA Jethabhai Bharwad sits near the press gallery in the assembly. Journalists can easily watch what both of them are doing in the house from about 10-meter distance away. Gujarat Samachar journalist Janak Purohit was one of the journalists sitting in the press gallery yesterday. Purohit claims that he spotted Chaudhary and Bharwad watching ‘abhadra’ photos (abhadra means indecent in English). Translation of Purohit’s story is presented below:

When water resources minister Narottambhai Patel was replying on the budget demands, BJP MLA and state BJP General Secretary Shankar Chaudhary whose sitting arrangement is near press gallery opened his Ipad tablet. Another BJP MLA Jethabhai Bharwad, sitting next to Chaudhary, was looking at the Ipad screen taking interest in Shankarbhai’s activity.

Initially there was Swami Vivekananda’s photo. As it was a touch screen devise, finger was moving and then came Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh’s cartoons. Jethabhai took more interest. Then came the photos not suitable to see forget the assembly house but even in own house. Both MLAs were involved in this activity, and then came state BJP President RC Faldu who sat in nearby bench and called Shankarbhai to sit with him there. Shankarbhai closed his tab and started talking with Faldu. Jethabhai opened the tab and started seeing same photographs. This all was clearly visible from press gallery and they informed the Secretary of Speaker about this. Secretary sent a chit. Speaker sent a new chit. Meanwhile Shankarbhai demanded tab, and therefore Jethabhai closed it and gave it to Shankarbhai. Shankarbhai showed Swami Vivekananda photo to Faldu but didn’t see what he had seen (earlier).

This story in Gujarat Samachar doesn’t mention a word ‘Porn’ which is called ‘Ashlil’ in Gujarati language.

The Speaker meanwhile has denied that he received any chit or message on Ipad row yesterday and never sent chit to the MLAs.

Another newspaper Divya Bhaskar says that the MLAs were surfing photographs on websites and watched porn clip. This ‘clip’ version and ‘porn’ version is missing in Gujarat Samachar report.

Another newspaper DNA doesn’t mention porn or clip in its story on the same subject. DNA writes that three BJP MLAs were spotted watching images and surfing the internet on a tablet in the house during the discussion on budgetary demands. The article says that both of the MLAs got down to watching images on the tablet, with Chaudhary explaining various features of the device to his party colleague. Bharwad checked out several images and also visited a couple of websites. This went on for several minutes.

Thus we get different versions on what the MLAs watched actually on tab in the assembly. One daily says they just watched websites and photos, another says the MLAs watched porn clip, another newspaper says they watched indecent photos! And two major newspaper The Times of India and The Indian Express don’t carry the story at all.

MLA Jethabhai Bharwad speaking to media on IPad row

There’s no rule banning use of Ipad in the house

Presently there’s no rule that stops MLAs from using tab in the assembly house. In parliament, MPs often read their speeches from Ipad screen. Just yesterday, Gujarat MP Parshottam Rupala had read out a speech in Rajya Sabha reading out from Ipad.

What defines indecent?

Journalist Janak Purohit says that the MLAs were watching indecent pictures , and therefore he went to the Speaker office to complain. The question is that ‘what is indecent?’ A typical Gujarati MLA would open Divya Bhaskar and Gujarat Samachar site. Both the sites contain indecent pictures of Poonam Pande and Sunny Leone on their front page regularly. What Purohit claims to be indecent, quickly was defined as ‘porn’ on TV media and ‘blue film’ in online media. Purohit works with Gujarat Samachar.

Gujarat Samachar political reporter Janak Purohit speaks

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