Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy has said he was still not happy with The Hindu though the daily carried his rejoinder on Thursday as the crux of the problem, regarding the publication of a story on his visit to ‘godman’ Habib Mustafa Idrus Baba, remained unresolved.
“The question of me carrying files, as reported by the daily, was also not sorted out although the TV channel, which aired a similar version, tendered an apology, stating that its reporter had misreported. But the newspaper stuck to its stand and did not correct itself,” Mr. Reddy said at a press conference on Thursday. He also said that the picture of him carrying files while meeting the ‘godman’ conveyed a bad message. “It was as if I put them at Baba’s feet.”
Asked why he visited the ‘godman’, Mr. Reddy said that in the past he regularly went to religious heads as the City Police Commissioner, but he never met Idrus Baba after becoming the DGP.
He said that he recently ran into the ‘godman’ at the Iftar hosted by the City Police Commissioner.
“He hugged me and said why don’t you come down to my place. I said I will come over for tea.”
On September 12, Mr. Reddy said he went to the Old City to meet a classmate, who was not keeping well. Afterwards, he went to the Baba to discuss communal amity, but the media made a mountain out of a molehill, he complained.
Mr. Reddy justified launching criminal proceedings against The Hindu’s Resident Editor S. Nagesh Kumar without issuing prior rejoinders, and asked how rejoinders would work when the RE was working against him repeatedly, and in a motivated manner.
He alleged that a similar lapse took place four months ago after a Cabinet meeting, where the Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts were discussed.
The Hindu, the DGP said, carried a story saying that ministers castigated him at the meeting for the poor handling of the incident.
“The fact is that my topic never came up in that meeting. When I asked the RE if he verified the information from any minister, he did not give a satisfactory reply and asked me to issue a rejoinder, which I did not.”
“We did not take it seriously but this is going on continuously. Other papers wrote about the visit to Baba in an insignificant manner, but The Hindu made it a banner item. Even when two journalists of Zee 24 Gantalu were arrested recently, the newspaper reported that they were picked up for airing a news story highlighting his meeting with the Baba,” Mr. Reddy said.
He added that he would file a suit for damages and write to the Press Council of India.