Swami Agnivesh says 'betrayal' video was 'doctored'

Swami Agnivesh has denied allegations that he betrayed Team Anna by double-dealing with Union Minister Kapil Sibal during Anna Hazare’s 13-day fast.

Responding to Kiran Bedi’s charge that he was “absolute unethical”, Swami Agnivesh said that the video footage that depicted him ostensibly talking to Sibal and urging him not to offer any further concessions to Anna was “doctored and concocted” as part of a smear campaign against him.

 Swami Agnivesh says betrayal video was doctored

Swami Agnivesh says the video footage of him ostensibly talking to Kapil Sibal is 'concocted'. B. Mathur / Reuters

Bedi noted that Agnivesh had been caught on camera talking to a person whom he addressed as "Kapilji".

"Maharaj, aap inko itna kyu de rahe hai (Maharaj, why are you giving them so much?),” Agnivesh is seen telling the person at the other end.

Bedi said she wanted to know who was the ‘Maharaj’ that Swami Agnivesh was speaking to. “Is it Kapil Sibal on the other side? He said ‘Sibal sahab’, I heard that," she said.

Bedi told PTI that the footage had "shocked us all and we are very uncomfortable" with it. "Only he (Swami Agnivesh) can answer this. He should own up to it or reject it.”

In any case, Bedi said, she was in no doubt. “It obviously tell us what happened. He should tell us who the person whom he mentioned in this is," she added.

Swami Agnivesh said of the video: "These were lies; it is a cut and paste job. There are several people in my personal circle whose first name is Kapil. I never address political leaders as 'Maharaj'. Kapil Maharaj could be anybody."

Swami Agnivesh denied he was in fact talking to Kapil Sibal – and added that it was “my very good friend Kapil Maharaj." Howver, speaking from Haridwar, Kapil Maharaj denied having he had spoken to Swami Agnivesh.

As Firstpost had noted here, from the conversation that can be pieced together from Swami Agnivesh’s end, it appears that he was actively urging the government not to make any further concessions to Team Anna.

Swami Agnivesh is heard telling “Kapilji”: “Yeh to pagal ki tarah ho raha hai” (It’s like he’s turned mad”).

He then advises “Kapilji” to not make any further concessions since the demands from the other side only keeps increasing. “You should definitely not concede any more ground,” he says. “Be firm.”

Swami Agnivesh then says that for anyone to “do this to the government is very bad… Even after issuing such a big appeal, if after even Parliament has asked him, if Anna doesn’t give up his fast…”

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Aug 29, 2011 06:48:34 IST