BJD MP seeks Lok Sabha Speaker’s protection in viral video case

The 27-year-old tribal woman elected from Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat alleged that several “false and fake” news programmes were run on OTV since October 15.

Biju Janata Dal MP Chandrani Murmu on Monday sought protection from the Lok Sabha Speaker alleging that attempts are being made to subvert the truth in a case related to the viral “morphed obscene” video of her.

The 27-year-old tribal woman elected from Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat moved a notice to initiate a breach of privilege proceeding against OTV, owned by BJP national vice-president and former MP Baijayant Panda’s family.

“You had commended me on being the youngest MP of India and that too being a tribal lady. However, with deep pain, I am compelled to bring this notice to initiate a breach of privilege proceedings against Odisha TV (OTV), Bhubaneswar,” Ms. Murmu said in a petition to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Claiming that an OTV reporter and others made viral a “morphed obscene” video of her with “malicious intent to defame, harass and mentally torture,” the young MP said the police during the investigation had arrested a junior reporter of the channel along with others in 2019.

The arrested OTV junior reporter had named Ramesh Rath as the perpetrator of the crime. But when the police examined the perpetrator of the crime on October 15, 2020, OTV has attempted to subvert the truth, she alleged in the petition to the Speaker.

When contacted, OTV reporter Ramesh Rath denied allegations against him and claimed that he is innocent. “I am in no way connected with the viral of the MPs video. The police unnecessarily harassed me,” Rath told PTI. He said his two mobile phones have been seized by the police.

Ms. Murmu alleged that several “false and fake” news programmes were run on OTV since October 15.

She alleged that the television channel attempted to inform people that Rath was picked up by the police for a news item on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaiks aerial flood visit on August 31 and not for her viral video.

“It is aimed at concealing the truth that Rath is one of the perpetrators of the crime against me. I will not dwell on the criminal investigation part and criminality as the privilege proceedings are not meant to look into that,” Murmu mentioned in the letter.

“However, my privilege as a Member of the Lok Sabha, Parliament of India has been grievously affected and violated.

OTV has launched vicious and malicious propaganda with an ill intention to derail the investigation. I am tendering this notice to you, seeking your protection to ensure that the OTV channel be restrained from airing such fake and false stories with a malicious intent to save its reporter Ramesh Rath,” she said.

Ms. Murmu also informed the Lok Sabha Speaker that she is ready to appear as a witness in this case and provide the facts before the Speaker and the Privileges Committee.

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