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Aussie TV Sting To Shame India Exposed

New Delhi : A sensational report by an Australian television journalist who claimed he smuggled explosives inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to highlight India's lax security arrangements for the Commonwealth Games has been exposed as
PTI September 30, 2010 12:29 IST
PTI
New Delhi : A sensational report by an Australian television journalist who claimed he smuggled explosives inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to highlight India's lax security arrangements for the Commonwealth Games has been exposed as fake, reports Delhi tabloid Mail Today.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ( ABC) Media Watch programme claimed on September 27 that Mike Duffy, the reporter in question from Channel Seven — a rival network — played a stunt that was “ ridiculous and dishonest”. In response, Duffy threatened to sue ABC and said he has “ retained the nation's top defamation lawyer Mike O'Brien” to represent him.



Duffy had claimed in his sting that he had taken an “ oversized bag containing a remote detonating unit capable of setting off 200 explosions” through the police cordon outside Nehru stadium. The report showed him entering the stadium premises while security personnel stationed there were distracted by the movement of their own vehicles.

But as the ABC Media Watch host Paul Barry pointed out in his report, the bag was nothing was just a suitcase made of foam supposed to keep the remote detonating unit.

And Duffy admitted as much. In a conversation with Sandy Aloisi of Radio 2UE's News Talk programme, Duffy said, “ I didn't have all of – I had some of the equipment in there, some not. I certainly didn't have enough that I could've been - I didn't have a complete kit is what I'm saying.” A top official of the Organising Committee said: “ We are waiting for Delhi Police to complete its investigation. The OC has full faith in the home ministry and the police.”  

Although Duffy never reported that he bought the remote detonating unit from a backstreet arms dealer, his voice- over in the reported suggested as much. “ We were offered the device from a car boot at a car park north of Delhi,” he said in the report.

In the visual, the alleged illegal arms dealer says while pointing to the detonating unit, “ It will say ‘ ready to shoot', ‘ shoot' or ‘ turn off'. If I need to blow up this car, all I need, further, is a detonator and an explosive.” When Duffy asked him if it could flatten an entire building,” the alleged dealer said, “ Absolutely.”  

Then, Duffy shows hidden camera footage of him handing over several Rs 500 notes to the alleged arms dealer. Duffy says in the report, “ We paid up and took the case.” Duffy then moved to another hidden footage that showed him buying explosives.He said, “ In India's mining areas, the black market for explosives is rife. We even got a demonstration ( of the explosives).”

 But Duffy went too far to prove that Indian stadiums lacked security, according to the ABC report. “ We believe that case may have been empty,” Media Watch's Barry said. “ Clever, isn't it? It's just a case.” He added: “ The other key element of the story is that Duffy took what the world thought was a bomb through security.”

But this is where Delhi Police vehemently refutes the claim. Its spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said: “ This sting operation is totally bogus and incorrect. The reporter is trying to create a false impression of a security breach by walking from the barricades placed on the main road only to divert vehicles. That place is far away from the main entry gate of Nehru Stadium.”

 Most important, when Duffy carried out the fake sting, none of the Games stadiums were under lockdown.“ Laughable is how I would describe Duffy's report,” Barry said. “ Except that it is far more serious because so many people around the world believed that he was fair dinkum.” During his analysis of Duffy's investigation, ABC's Barry got in touch with the alleged arms dealer featured in the Channel Seven report.  

When questioned, the businessman, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he was persuaded by Duffy to demonstrate his device so that he could show it to his mining customer in Australia.  

The businessman told Media Watch, “ He ( Duffy) said, a picture is worth a thousand words, but ( a) movie is worth a million words”. Media Watch also alleged Channel 7 had secretly filmed the businessman taking Rs 15,000 for the bag containing explosives. But the businessman said all that Duffy had asked for was the suitcase as it had a foam covering.

In an email to Media Watch, he wrote: “ Mark ( the fictitious name Duffy gave him) requested me to just give the empty suitcase... as he... has done some shopping of glass and decorative wears ( sic) in Delhi, and he can take them back to Sydney in the suitcase and since it has foam lining, his shopping will reach safely.”  

In an email trail that the businessman sent to Media Watch, he said “ Mark Darcy” of “ Ashburton Mining” got in touch with him three weeks prior to the airing of the report asking to buy a remote explosive detonating kit. He was shown a demo kit at a hotel in Delhi because the actual one could not be brought to Delhi due to security reasons.

Eventually they met in an unnamed town between Delhi and Chandigarh. But before they met, the businessman had emailed Duffy that the equipment needs an electronic detonator to operate, which has restricted access

. “ We don't have it and only government agencies have it,” he wrote. For good measure, he added that the detonator could not blow up the ammonium nitrate fertiliser that Duffy bought unless that was mixed with fuel oil or explosive gel. Barry then showed how Duffy actually acted in the video when a demo explosion was made. “ Duffy reels from the blast whereas the others do not.”  

He reels again in a second clip when the positions of all the demo crew have changed. Barry said: “ Channel 7 says that the real point of the story is that Duffy was able to buy a detonator kit without a license or an ID. But according to Mr P ( the businessman's pseudonym), Duffy actually didn't buy anything, except an empty case.”