Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Questions 220 - 239)



  220. You have seen a copy of the transcript of the conversation between him and journalists, have you?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes, I have.

  221. He has said to us that the content of those transcripts is lies. Do you know why he would want to lie about you and make accusations of a criminal nature against you?
  (Mr Vaz) No.

  222. Have you no idea at all?
  (Mr Vaz) No. I have read the transcripts of what has been said, and frankly I was very hurt because one of the points says that I own a house or a hotel in Goa which I do not. I wish I did. People say all kinds of things. Journalists are now more than ever will try and trap people into saying what they say. Let me give you another example of a News of the World story concerning an Asian gentleman called Varun Shingari who was trapped in the same way on Saturday by somebody and Mr Bindman knows about this because we almost took out an injunction. He rings me up on Monday morning and he says, "I was trapped. This person said this and that and put this to me and put that to me." I am not saying he was trapped. I do not know why he said these things. I think it is very regrettable that anyone should say these things about anybody, especially someone that he knows that he would see again. I do not think he knows the concept of "on the record", "off the record" or the fact that his stuff will be printed out and shown to everybody. I am very sad that he did say that because it is not true.

  223. Yes, but he made detailed allegations about cheques and cash sums against you and accused you of criminal offences.
  (Mr Vaz) Absolutely.

  224. Surely there must have been something that was winding him up. Why would somebody be so malevolent towards you from within your own community?
  (Mr Vaz) Or from any community. I do not know. People can be malevolent. If there is somebody in public life and they want to say things and they think nobody else is going to hear about them, they might say things about them.

  225. So what have you done about it? Once you knew that he had said these things about you what did you do?
  (Mr Vaz) I was very hurt.

  226. Did you protest?
  (Mr Vaz) To whom?

  227. To him.
  (Mr Vaz) No. Why should I protest to him? He rang me up and said, "This is not true" and I accepted it. At that stage I had not seen the transcripts and I could not believe—people have rung me up and said they have spoken to Mrs Filkin at length about things, and I know Mrs Filkin never talks to the press so I do not believe the press. People like Chris Hastings and Rajeev Syal in particular, who has been saying this about me for seven years,—all I have ever done is try to help people like that. I do not know why they would say these things.

  228. I am finding it difficult to understand why it was that you did not protest. If somebody made an accusation against me, notwithstanding the question of libel, I would want to know why they had done it, what was angering them and were they going to withdraw the allegations. Did you ask him to withdraw the allegations?
  (Mr Vaz) Mr Campbell-Savours, there are two problems there. One is that we are not allowed to contact witnesses. Secondly, if somebody rings you up and says—

  229. No; this was prior to any inquiry, was it not?
  (Mr Vaz) No.

  230. What was the date of this?
  (Mr Vaz) It was in The Sunday Telegraph. It was the same accusation that Rajeev Syal had put seven years ago.

  231. What was the date of this material? Do you remember roughly?
  (Mr Vaz) March or something like that.

  232. Was it after we received the complaints?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes, but I did not get to see the transcript until much later.

  233. Oh, I see.
  (Mr Vaz) Mrs Filkin handed me the transcript later. The investigative way in which Mrs Filkin does her investigations is a very interesting way, in which she has the evidence first. She then puts it to you and sees whether you are a liar or not. Then when you say something that is wrong she can send you the thing and say, "Look, this is the truth". It is actually a very good way.

  234. Do you know roughly what was the date in The Sunday Times of this?
  (Mrs Filkin) It was 19 March, the same day that Mr Vaz said he had a conversation with Mr Kapasi.
  (Mr Vaz) I did not know the date. It was March some time.

  235. That was before the—
  (Mrs Filkin) No. It was published prior to that. On 19 March is the item that refers to Mr Kapasi.
  (Mr Vaz) I did not get to see the transcripts until much later. What do you do when somebody you know says these things about you?

  236. But the allegations would have been in the paper, would they not?
  (Mr Vaz) No, not all the bits. The allegation about Mr Kapasi, a Leicester businessman or whatever, says that he gave £500 for a temple in Leicester. The cuttings are in the file. It does not say that he says he has a hotel in Goa or that he gave me more cheques or this stuff about a brown and white envelope. I cannot believe that Kapasi could have said such a thing. I do not think it is Kapasi.

  237. You do not think it is Kapasi then?
  (Mr Vaz) It is just so unbelievable, because I do not have that relationship with him.

  238. You will understand that he has made these allegations and he has withdrawn them of course. I just wondered a little as to the background as to how it was possible for him to make statements of that nature.
  (Mr Vaz) I have no idea, but frankly my faith in human nature was shaken when I saw those transcripts and has been shaken ever since. I think anyone will say anything about anybody these days.

  239. Can I ask you about Mark?
  (Mr Vaz) Which one?

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