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Friday, October 19, 2001

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Expert disputes clean chit to Tehelka

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, OCT. 18. The Venkataswami Commission's order giving a clean chit to the Tehelka portal that the 100 hours of tapes were not doctored has been strongly disputed by a technical expert, who reiterated his plea for examining the tapes by a panel of forensic science experts so that the commission could satisfy itself on the veracity and authenticity of the tapes.

The expert, Mr. Milind Kapoor, a film maker, whose evidence had been rejected by the commission, once again demonstrated to presspersons as to how deletion, addition and mixing of shots had taken place in various places in the tapes exhibited by the portal.

The commission had held last week that the unedited tapes in its possession ``are camera originals'' and no prima facie case had been made out about doctoring and tampering of the tapes and it was inappropriate at this juncture to refer them to a panel of experts.

The commission said that in the tapes used by the portal, namely, HI8 with AFM sound track, there was absolutely no possibility of tampering with or interpolating.

Mr. Kapoor today gave a presentation of the portions of the tapes involving Ms. Jaya Jaitley, Mr. Bangaru Laxman, former president of the BJP and certain Army officials to show how the overwhelming evidence of doctoring and tampering had been rejected by the commission.

Using sophisticated audio and video techniques and computer graphics, he pointed out as to how ``dissolving'' of either the ``sound'' or the ``visual'' was taking place in these portions of the tapes, which he said could have been done while editing.

Referring to the commission's finding that deletion of sound was not possible without deleting the video portion of it in the camera used by the portal, Mr. Kapoor produced documents to show that such addition or deletion was possible even in the camera used by the portal.

Dr. Arun Mehta, Managing Director of Indata com. pvt. ltd, which had arranged the demonstration, said it was completely incomprehensible that critical evidence in a matter of such criminal, political and national security importance should not be subject to forensic examination.

He said that ``this incredible course of action persists in the light of such overwhelming evidence of tampering, takes it outside the realm of an act of omission on the part of the commission. Equally, the Army court of enquiry needs to tell the nation, why Army officers were subject to judicial proceedings, without any examination to see if the evidence against them was in any way tampered with''.

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