Abhishek Manu Singhvi is known widely as being one of Indian National Congress' most important leaders and spokespersons. He is a leading lawyer, the Supreme Court of India's senior advocate, Chairperson of the standing committee on law and justice, and is currently a Member of Parliament of India who represents Rajasthan in the Rajya Sabha. Many will have seen him day in and out on news channels as he criticizes the opposition and supports his policies in Government.
Singhvi began his political career at the age of 37 when he became the youngest man to become part of the Additional Solicitor General of India, in 1997. It was a position he held for a full year. In 2001 he became the National Spokesperson for the INC. Currently, he is a member of the Ministry of External Affairs' Consultative Committee, the Chairman for the Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, a member of the General Purposes Committee, and a Law and Justice Member.
If you look at the news on Singhvi recently, however, you will see that he is going through a very hard time in his political career than he has ever faced before. This all comes down to a sex scandal that Singvi was allegedly involved in back in 2012 when he was caught in his Supreme Court chamber in a very compromising position.
On April 23rd of 2012, a sex video was leaked that involved the Congress leader and another female senior lawyer. News reports stated that the sexual act was in exchange for the promise that Singhvi would help the female lawyer gain a judgeship. This, however, could not be proven at the time.
The video appeared to have been recorded in a Court Chamber room. It was very grainy and not overly explicit. However, there was no doubt about the sexual nature and activity that was being recorded. There was no mention between the two people that referred to an offer of judgeship either.
The video was just over 12 minutes in length and was first uploaded to YouTube the Thursday before, at around 9 pm. Within 20 minutes the video was pulled from the site because it violated the terms of service regarding sexual content and nudity on YouTube. However, a Facebook page was also created that had links to the video, with the suggestion that the person who created the page had more videos with incriminating evidence that would implicate other leading politicians.
Singhvi made many attempts to block the telecast from mainstream media legally. However, it kept cropping up on other sites, had been uploaded to torrent servers and file sharing platforms so that people could download it, and was being posted repeatedly throughout the night. By Monday morning, many sites were streaming the leaked footage as embedded videos, with people posting links on Twitter and mocking Singhvi.
Singhvi's driver at the time, Mukesh Kumar Lal, was the person accused of filming the CD and then using it to blackmail Singhvi, threatening to make it go public. Singhvi has claimed that the video is a forgery, that it was fabricated to hurt his political career. There is, however, the mention of other videos. Should one of these other videos exist, and mentions the promise of a judgeship as believed, it would be more ruinous than a video showing two people having consensual sexual activities.
As a result, Singhvi was forced to resign as Chairman of the Parliamentary standing committee of law and justice, and as Congress spokesperson.
Effects of the Scandal
The fallout from this scandal was a rising star in the party being shut down, his career being ruined. It also has shown that videos such as these, fake or not, will always find a way of getting out on social media, regardless of the efforts being made. The only alternative would be to clamp down on free speech, a move that would have leaders dealing with an even bigger backlash.
The CD can still be found on many torrent sites and could once again be aired on any social media site years on. Singhvi has blamed social media for sensationalism and had stated that it was an organized gang that was involved in the contents of the video being broadcast. The plain fact is, once out on social media, nothing can really stop it.