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Sting operation falls apart but channel isn't sorry

Sep 07, 2007 09:22 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Uma Khurana, a teacher in a Delhi school, lost her job and was abused and attacked by a mob after a TV channel did a sting operation in which she was shown pushing her own students into prostitution. Live India channel’s report has now fallen apart and it appears that Khurana, who taught mathematics at the government-run Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in central Delhi, was framed and the allegations against her may not be true. Rashmi Singh, an aspiring journalist who posed as a schoolgirl and the victim of a prostitution racket in the sting operation, was on Friday remanded in judicial custody till September 15. Prakash Singh, the reporter who carried out the sting operation, is under arrest. Live India’s conduct is being investigated but lawyers say it will be difficult to haul up the channel for criminal neglect. "If the knowledge and intent on the part of the channel can’t be established, in that case even the criminal offence of defamation may not be sustainable (against the channel). But it may still be liable for damages under civil law," said Supreme Court lawyer K T S Tulsi. The Delhi Police continues its probe of the sting that cost Khurana her job and reputation last week. A mob assaulted her near the school; she was arrested and remanded in judicial custody and the Delhi government’s education department sacked her. Live India says its stands by its story. "The entire sting is not fake but yes there are weak links, which we also came to know after reading media reports and after police started investigating," said Sudhir Chaudhary, the CEO of Live India. Meanwhile, the Delhi High court has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports and asked the Delhi government and the Delhi Police to reply on the authenticity of the sting operation by Monday.