When the documentary India's Daughter was sold, it was marketed as Delhi- the rape capital of the world. A documentary which was not meant to be commercialized is alleged to have raised funds by giving a sensational title, investigations have found.
There are more discrepancies that have cropped up while investigating the Nirbhaya documentary shot by Leslee Udwin. There was a huge outrage over the documentary which showed a death row convict justify the rape and murder and this led to the Home Ministry banning the documentary.
A full fledged investigation into the shooting of the documentary has been launched and the ongoing probe show that several norms were violated.
Permission was shot to shoot the documentary and also interview the convicts in the case citing that the film was meant to espouse a social cause. However investigators allege that there was an attempt to sensationalise the entire issue and the producers may have resorted to a sting like operation to get Mukesh Singh to talk.
It was found that Singh was very uncomfortable while speaking into the camera. He was only responding to questions in monosyllables. Investigators say that Mukesh Singh was made to believe that the cameras were off and the producers were only making notes of what he was saying.
Singh began to open up and spoke his mind out and never realized that there were cameras hidden which were recording his statements. This is completely against the rules and a sting operation cannot be conducted in a jail premises especially when permission has been sought to shoot a documentary for a social cause, an investigator informed OneIndia.
Further it has also been found that the film which was meant to be a documentary on a social cause was marketed with the title, "Delhi as the Rape capital of the world." This had generated interest in those who picked up the film to air it. The investigators are also looking into the funding that the film got.
The footage was never shared
All through Udwin is said to have made false claims about submission of the raw footage. However the Tihar jail authorities have told the investigators that despite repeated requests the footage was never shared.
In fact Udwin's original co-producer Anjali Bhushan has in a statement mentioned that the contract was terminated as she had repeatedly told her to comply with the rules.
The Tihar jail authorities say that they never got to see the entire footage of the documentary. The rule mandates that they ought to be provided the raw footage, but they manage to see only some snippets.
The snippets that were viewed by the jail authorities were not approved and they had raised an objection about the content. However this was not taken into consideration and the documentary was anyways released.
A modus operandi
The rules in India clearly state that foreign documentary or film makers are not allowed to shoot in the Indian prisons. In order to overcome this norm, they enter into a contract with an Indian producer who has permission to enter into the jail premises and shoot a documentary.
The original contract was signed with a co-producer from India. However in the titles the name of the co-producer is completely missing. In fact it was also found that the contract with the Indian producer was terminated after it was pointed out that norms were not being followed in the production of the documentary.
Tihar jail authorities under the scanner
Investigators would look into the role played by the Tihar jail authorities in this entire episode. Certain questions being posed to them is why were they not inspecting when the documentary was being shot in the jail.
Were they really persistent about the raw footage as they had claimed. If the producers had not given them the raw footage why did they not bring it to the notice of the Home Ministry or the higher ups?
What action did the jail authorities take after they had found some contents of the documentary as objectionable? They had claimed to have viewed snippets which they found as objectionable, but there was never any follow up action on it.
What about the clothes that Mukesh Singh was wearing in the interview? If he was in plain clothes after his conviction then why was this not objected to. It is mandatory that a convict is in jail uniform at all times.
Further if Singh was not convicted at the time of the interview, why did the authorities not object to the interview? An under-trial prisoner is not allowed to give interviews during the pendency of the case against him as this would influence the proceedings.