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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Delhi teacher cleared on 'sting'
By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi

Protests in Delhi after the sting operation
There were violent protests in Delhi after the TV report
The high court in the Indian capital, Delhi, has ordered that a schoolteacher who was sacked after a fake television "sting" operation must be reinstated.

The teacher, Uma Khurana, was accused of forcing students into prostitution.

There were riots in the city and Ms Khurana was beaten up by parents after a local channel broadcast the report. She spent 10 days in prison.

A police investigation later revealed the sting had been faked and the teacher falsely accused.

The case follows a number of other so-called stings in which people allege they have been framed and has led to renewed calls for India's media to be regulated.

Secretly filmed

The undercover journalist, Prakash Singh, who made the report has been arrested.

They disgraced me. I will... consult the lawyers to file a defamation case against them
Teacher Uma Khurana

Police have also questioned staff at the Live India news channel which broadcast the secretly-filmed tape on 30 August.

Hours after the broadcast, a mob attacked the school at which Ms Khurana worked, dragged her out and assaulted her.

Ms Khurana was taken into custody while the authorities ordered her suspension, solely on the basis of the "sting".

But police now say they have not been able to find any evidence against Ms Khurana. She was released on bail on Monday after spending 10 days in jail.

Announcing her bail, the judge said she had been "more of a victim than an offender".

Meanwhile, the high court has instructed police to take action against those who assaulted Ms Khurana.

'Stink operation'

Ms Khurana says she is considering filing for defamation against those who framed her.

"They disgraced me. I will first settle down with my children and then consult the lawyers to file a defamation case against them," she told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

The Live India "sting" has been described as a "stink operation" by some newspapers and has raised concerns about the credibility of such media operations.

Experts blame it on a highly competitive media environment where several 24-hour news channels are fighting for revenue and viewers' attention.

There have been a series of high-profile media stings in India to expose alleged corruption.

In 2005, 10 MPs were thrown out of the lower house and one from the upper house after they were secretly taped accepting bribes in return for asking questions in parliament.

Some of the MPs recorded in the videotape said they had been framed. It was the first time since 1951 that any Indian MP had been expelled for corruption.



SEE ALSO
Sting journalism under fire
23 Oct 06 |  South Asia
India MPs suspended for 'bribes'
12 Dec 05 |  South Asia
Politician denies bribing witness
22 Dec 04 |  South Asia
Minister quits after bribe claims
17 Nov 03 |  South Asia
Party boss quits after web sting
13 Mar 01 |  South Asia

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