Everybody from the prime minister to the defence minister have dismissed the Indian Express front-page story on the coup that wasn’t in Delhi on the night of January 16-17. Now, the paper has published a formal statement standing by the story on its website.
Below is the full text:
“The Indian Express report “The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt” has, as expected, prompted widespread reaction.
“The report is a meticulous reconstruction and a very sober interpretation of the movement of two key Army units towards New Delhi on the night of January 16-17.
“Investigated over six weeks and written by editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta; chief of investigative bureau Ritu Sarin and deputy editor and chief of the national bureau Pranab Dhal Samanta (with help from assistant editor in the investigative bureau Ajmer Singh), the report draws on highly credible sources.
“They have chosen to be anonymous and the newspaper is committed to protecting their identity.
“The Indian Express sent a detailed questionnaire to the army and the ministry of defence and accurately reported their responses in the report. These responses were reiterated by them on Wednesday.
“Neither side explained why the Ministry of Defence wasn’t notified, why the troops were suddenly asked to go back and what explanation was offered, if any, by the army to the Government.
“There are some in the government and outside who have questioned the report, even calling it “disturbing” and “baseless”. All this, even those comments that attribute false motives, are, we believe, part of a necessary debate.
“The Indian Express stands by the report.
“And in the tradition of its commitment to journalism of courage and the readers’ right to know, it will continue its investigation into the events of January 16-17 and the questions these raise.”