I said he said it. Marri Channa Reddy insisted he did not say it.

It practically was Chief minister Marri Channa Reddy versus reporter Sushil Rao. It was whether his words could be believed or I could be trusted. Was he right? Or was my report authentic? The question now was about how it could be ascertained. My report, I insisted was factual. Channa Reddy’s contention was that it was not. And so began an exercise to ascertain who was right. 
Marri Channa Reddy said spoken something but for reasons I could easily understand chose to deny it. And I was at the receiving end for allegedly concocting a report. 
Channa Reddy addressed a meeting of party leaders and workers in Ranga Reddy district. "I am not here as chief minister because of anyone’s mercy,” he had declared at the meeting. Nothing wrong with that. But the timing of his saying that was more important. The manner in which he said was even more important. The context was all the more important. This was sometime in 1989. 

There had been some talk that not all was well between him and the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. From what Channa Reddy spoke at the meeting, I was told the next morning that Channa Reddy had denied what I had  reported in the newspaper. What was I to do? I was sure he said it. It was there all over in my notes. There was no television at that time. There was only Doordarshan but they had not come to cover that programme. I insisted Channa Reddy had said just what I had reported. The reason that he wanted to deny it, as it was clear to me, was that it sent out a wrong signal to Rajiv Gandhi. In political language, it was undermining the authority of Rajiv Gandhi. So, some internal controversy had begun. 
Reporters from other newspapers too had come to cover the chief minister’s meeting. However, none of the reports that appeared in other newspapers had the point which I felt was important and reported. Were they all wrong and only I was right? Was Channa Reddy wrong and only I was right?

The onus was now on me to prove that he had said what he had. I remembered something. I had seen somebody record the speech in a tape recorder. It was a huge tape recorder - perhaps a two-in-one - and it registered in my mind that it had been kept on a table there and the speech was recorded. That was the evidence. There was enough of it on tape. 
I asked that they listen to the tape to verify my report. This was enough. No further questions were asked on the authenticity of my report. 

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