By Newzfirst Correspondent2/8/13


Mumbai – A senior journalist and a witness in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat massacre Friday accused an editor of a prominent daily of starting a “vicious vilification campaign” against him by publishing concocted news relating to the case and threatening him with more dire consequences.

Ashish Khetan – a witness in the Naroda Gaam case – sent a mail to RK Raghavan, head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2002 Gujarat carnage, accusing Avinash Jain – the resident editor of Dainik Bhaskar newspaper – of carrying out a “vicious vilification campaign” by publishing factually incorrect articles and also threatening him with more dire consequences.

Khetan said, “The Ahmedabad edition of Dainik Bhaskar newspaper dated February 5 published a factually incorrect and depraved account of my ongoing deposition in the Naroda Gram massacre case. On the same day the Delhi edition of the same group published a story claiming that I have retracted my testimony.”

These two articles triggered a vicious vilification campaign against my evidence on social media. Clearly it’s an attempt to not only demoralize me but also vitiate the public opinion against the credibility of my ongoing evidence, he further said.

On sending a mail to Ahmedabad edition’s resident editor demanding an apology and clarification instead of correcting the mistake, the editor  Avinash  Jain called me from his cell phone and threatened that more editions of Dainik Bhaskar Group could also now start reporting that I’d retracted my statement, Khetan alleged.

In the letter, Khetan also accused defense lawyers particularly Chetan Shah of being abusive and insulting while cross-examining him.

“Through out my deposition he kept taunting and humiliating me. Also many of his questions were aimed at insulting and annoying me. But this was not all. On more than one occasion he also tried to intimidate and threaten the presiding judge. He on multiple occasions screamed at her at the top of his voice and humiliated her in front of the packed court room.” he said.

Khetan is examined in connection with the sting operation he had conducted in 2007 while working with Tehelka magazine, wherein  Babu Bajrang, a leader of Bajarang Dal and a couple of other accused persons made extra-judicial confessions.

Eleven persons were killed in the Naroda Gam massacre on 28 February 2002. 84 accused are undergoing trial in the case.