Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday asked a city-based news channel to clarify remarks made by its former editor-in-chief that there was pressure from him to resign over the coverage of the molestation of a girl near a pub in Guwahati.
"There was no pressure from me on News Live's management to make former editor-in-chief Atanu Bhuyan resign. News Live management should clarify the matter," Gogoi told reporters at his chamber in the legislative assembly complex.
Bhuyan had resigned from his post on Tuesday alleging interference from the Chief Minister. News Live had recorded the first visuals of the molestation case, which rocked the state.
Later in the day, the management of the channel denied that it was put under pressure at any point and said that comments made by Bhuyan during the press conference on July 17 while announcing his resignation were his personal views made in his individual capacity.
"The management does not subscribe to any view or comment made by him (Bhuyan) after his resignation where he dragged the name of the chief minister or other external forces apprehending pressure ... The management of the channel clarifies that at no point was it pressurised by the chief minister or the government on the GS Road molestation incident and the happenings thereafter, including the resignation of journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog and the resignation of Atanu Bhuyan as Editor-in-Chief," Caushiq Bezboruah, chief executive officer of Pride Entertainment Pvt Limited, owner of the channel, said in a statement.
The management has already relieved Bhuyan as one of the directors on the board of the company and his resignation as editor-in-chief has also been accepted.
Bezboruah said the news channel is an independent organisation and the impression that external forces could interfere with the editorial or management policies is "completely unfounded and baseless".
Meanwhile, the special investigation team (SIT) of Assam Police set up to probe the July 9 molestation case is slated send raw footage of the incident recorded by News Live for forensic test.
"We have gathered the footage and we will be sending it for forensic test," SIT head Ranjan Bhuyan said adding it would be done within a day or two.
The footage have come under scrutiny after Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi alleged that the channel's reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog instigated the mob who were responsible for the molestation of the girl.
Bhuyan, also Superintendent of Police (Operations) said police teams have been sent out of the state in search of the prime accused Amar Jyoti Kalita, who is untraced.
Meanwhile, Anand Prakash Tiwari took over as the new Senior Superintendent of Police of Guwahati on Thursday. He replaced Apurba Jibon Barua who was transferred after the molestation caught national attention.
Tiwari after assuming duty met senior city police officials and took stock of the situation.
Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has also sought a detailed report of the case from Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Jayanto Narayan Choudhury, official sources said.
AHRC issued a notice to the DGP asking him to conduct an inquiry and submit the report to it within 21 days.