The Supreme Court today upheld the conviction of all 12 accused in the Haren Pandya murder case. Former Gujarat Home Minister Pandya was shot dead on 26 March 2003 in Ahmedabad. In the comments, the Supreme Court today threw out journalist Rana Ayyub’s book ‘Gujarat Files’ which was cited by Centre for Public Interest Litigation, the NGO which had filed the PIL challenging conviction of the accused.
The apex court today observed that Ayyub’s book has no utility. Adding that the book is based upon surmises, conjectures and suppositions and has no evidentary value, the court said, “The opinion of the person is not in the realm of the evidence. There is a likelihood of the same being politically motivated, cannot be ruled out. The way in which the things have moved in Gujarat post-Godhra, such allegations and counter-allegations are not uncommon and had been raised a number of times and have been found to be untenable and afterthought.”
Reading the court’s judgement took me back to May 2016 when I read her book. Following were my observations on the book and the glaring discrepancies in the piece of fiction she had written and was lauded as ‘brave’ attempt across. The same is reproduced below:
Rana Ayyub, a ‘journalist’ most famously associated with Tehelka.com, a ‘news outlet’ most popularly known to use ‘sting operation’ as a mode to collect news, has come out with a book. “Gujarat Files”. It is supposed to be a tell all book on alleged state sponsored political murders and ‘fake encounters’ which are supposed to pin Amit Shah, the then Home Minister of Gujarat and current national president of ruling party, and Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and currently the Prime Minister.
I finished reading the book, which I paid for from my own hard earned money, and I have come to the conclusion that it is nothing but a sermon of personal hate and vendetta against the people she wants to ‘nail.’
Not only is the book full of grammatical errors and badly narrated, it lacks consistency. At best it should have been filed under a hate speech on her personal blog. She talks how her report sent Amit Shah to jail and hence to find truth about Sohrabuddin encounter case, she would have to assume an identity.
First of all, she should stay away from WebMD. She had self diagnosed that she was suffering from depression (yea, mental health awareness crusaders, please come forward. A ‘journalist’ just used the serious condition loosely to describe her boredom) and the only thing that helped her came out of it was when she took up project Sohrabuddin.
She makes sure that she describes her undercover act in great detail. She wears chunky jewellery, skirts and colourful bandana to show how she is a documentary film maker from the US, making a film on the famous people from Gujarat. She stayed at Nehru Foundation and within first few days her room was ‘searched’.
Incidentally, other than Naresh Kanodia, the SRK of Gujarati cinema, the only people she meets for the ‘documentary’ are top cops and ministers. Interestingly, the transcripts of all these sting operations all talk about 2002 riots. Sohrabuddin wasn’t even involved there. Amit Shah (whom she very proudly sent to jail on basis of her investigative ‘journalism’) was not the Home Minister during post-Godhra Gujarat riots. It was Gordhan Zadaphia. 80% of her book focuses of 2002 riots and how the top cops feel ‘used and thrown’ by the CM and HM (who was not even HM then).
The transcript of her sting was extremely confusing. The only things I understood from her writeup was:
- Top cops of Gujarat are easily accessible if you are documentary filmmaker from the US.
- You can pass off as documentary filmmaker from the US if you wear denim skirts, chunky jewellery and colourful bandanas. And if you have a firang along, it just adds to the effect.
- Top cops of Gujarat don’t find it suspicious when a filmmaker randomly probes about 2002 riots and their involvement or lack of it.
- Top cops of Gujarat play the blame game quite nicely.
- She mentions how her room at Nehru Foundation (set up by the Sarabhais, which she chose to disclose), where she stayed, was ‘searched’ just a day before G L Singhal, the cop involved in alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, agreed to meet her.
- She spotted a car outside where she lived in morning and in evening. But when she asked a friend to pick her up to go to a college festival, the car wasn’t there next day. Basically, Gujarat top cops are easy to fool when you wear a bandana and attend college festivals.
- She stayed at a friend’s friend’s bungalow where a cobra was living too, since a year. Surprised she didn’t crack a joke, ‘not sure what was more poisonous, the reptile or me? lol’.
- Gujarat top cops are whiny and will talk to anyone and everyone who asks about the riots. No one really questions or doubts why the random bandana clad woman (yea, she mentions the bandanas quite a lot) who has been in the US, and making a film on important people of Gujarat, knows the right questions to ask about the riots and the ‘fake encounters’. Like, seriously. None of these men even doubted her for a second. If that’s true, we clearly need better set of cops.
- She liked eating Gujarati thaali at Pakvan (it sucks) and she taught Geeta Saar to Maya Kodnani, former minister who was accused of leading a mob during 2002 riots, while having lunch at her place, which involved aam ras. (Kodnani has since then been acquitted by the Gujarat High Court.)
- But what is the point she was trying to make? Just making people read her sting trascript? What am I supposed to do?
Behen, tum aakhir kehna kya chaahti ho? All these sting tapes were not released until now. That is in the ‘book’ she self published. These tapes are not authenticated. She says she will give these tapes to investigative agencies if they ask for them. Why not make them public for everyone to see and hear? Trial by media is one of Tehelka’s strong points anyway!
Hope she gets prize in fiction for the lizard on the cover page book.
After her book was published, Ayyub had accused Tehelka of being under ‘political pressure’ to not publish the ‘sting’, especially after the backlash they received after Bangaru Lakshman sting.
Reacting to this, Shoma Chaudhary, who was then the managing editor of Tehelka tweeted that her transcript was not upto ‘editorial standards’ and hence it was not published.
1/2 Rana Ayyub’s a courageous reporter but her story wasn’t published in Tehelka coz it didn’t meet ed standards not ‘political pressure’
— Shoma Chaudhury (@ShomaChaudhury) May 29, 2016
2/2 Rana continued working at Tehelka after 2010 & Tehelka continued publishing hard stories on Gujarat. Simple check of archive shows that
— Shoma Chaudhury (@ShomaChaudhury) May 29, 2016
Ayyub’s fiction didn’t even meet Tehelka’s ‘editorial standards’! No wonder she was livid when Amit Shah, whom she desperately tried to ‘nail’ in her fictional tale became the Home Minister in newly elected Modi government.
Note: The above review was originally written on @medium. It could be read here.