In NDTV The EDIT PAGE

The NDTV Saga, and Indian Journalism

 
In a world where simply the CBI raids label you a fraud man/org, I do subscribe to Arun Shourie’s perspective: “If you have done nothing wrong, take CBI and NIA raids as the rare opportunity to help authorities attest your honesty. Yes, I’m the only person so far, who has earned the certificate of ‘honesty’ from the CBI.” Having stated the same in their press releases, NDTV's promoters must extend their full co-operation to CBI, NIA & ED, and come clean, as there’s no alternative.

However, the recent CBI statements have enough loopholes. The Hoot Journo, Sevanti Ninan, therefore, justly deduced, “It seems odd for a government agency to be exercised about a $7.45-million loss from a private bank to NDTV."   

CBI in its statement, dated June 5, 2017 said, “The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against two Promotors/Directors of a private company based at Delhi; said private company; other New Delhi based TV Company; unknown officials of ICICI Bank and unknown others u/s 120 B and 420 of IPC r/w 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of PC Act, 1988 on a complaint for causing an alleged loss of Rs.48 crore to ICICI Bank.

The criminal complaint very much talked about the alleged loss of Rs48 crore to ICICI bank. Responding to the same, NDTV uploaded a scanned copy of ICICI bank’s receipt, dated August 7, 2009 stating, “The entire amount due and payable has been paid in full.” NDTV also averred that the complaint has never held in courts and the person Sanjay Suri, a former consultant at NDTV has not been able to obtain a single order from any court.
The very next day, CBI came up with another statement and clarified “The searches have been carried out at the premises of the promoters and their offices based on search warrants issued by the Competent Court.”

If so, where are the docs regarding search warrants issued by Courts? The submission doesn’t have any. CBI has neither given the details of the Court’s judgement nor the dates on which it was issued.
Further, the CBI’s press release also clarified, “The allegations under investigation are not regarding the default in loan repayment; but relate to the wrongful gain of Rs 48 crore to the promoters – Dr. Prannoy Roy, Smt Radhika Roy, M/s RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd and a corresponding wrongful loss to the ICICI bank arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy.”

This contradicts the very first copy of FIR, where subject 1 established an alleged loss of Rs48Cr. The press release shifted the focus to subject 2 of the FIR, “ICICI bank allegedly conniving, committing fraud and entering into a conspiracy with promoters od NDTV in facilitating transfer of ownership of a news Broadcasting co. (Licensed by MIB) to a khoka/Shell Company. All these acts committed being in violation of Banking Regulation Act, SEBI Act, MIB Regulations and MHA National Security Norms.”

Strangely, if that is the case, then why Reliance Ventures Limited, Shinano Retail Pvt Ltd and Vishwapradhan Commercial Pvt Ltd have not been chargesheeted for getting wrongful access to the ownership of a media company by extending Zero Coupon optionally convertible loan of worth Rs403.85Cr?
  
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When was the last time you saw some hard-hitting journalism practiced by any Indian Media org at large? It's rare, in bits and pieces.
The day, Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway coined the term alternate truth...Nytimes had its tagline ready -- Truth. It has no alternative. The Washington Post came up with -- Democracy dies in darkness. While Trump is their current president, Megyn Kelly, an American Journo-NBC goes to Saint Petersburg, Russia asks Putin, "We believe you've evidences against our President."

Nobody questions the journalist's nationalism, but reacts over the response. Imagine, an Indian journalist asking the same question to Pakistan's PM! How would we react? What space have we given to our Journalists to let them pursue what they believe in, without tagging them?
According to Press Freedom Index, we are as free as dead, and so are journalists. India's Journalism died, or say, withered up long ago, owing to a) the unavailability of the means of white money essential to keep pumping up some blood in their veins, and b) the government acting like the big brother.

What we're left with narrations/versions, with little access to the minutes of the events -- even if, they are --- living under the new unknown 'HIVE-Grant Ward's effect' people happily refuse to believe so, as if, they have lost the ability to filter facts from a bunch of narrations. No wonder, a large no. of people still believe that it was Arnab who broke 2G/3G/CWG scams.
I don't see any late hard-hitting journalism happening compared to Arun Shourie's works against Reliance/Rajeev gov @IndianExpress and @ChitraSubramanium works on Bofors The Hindu.
The few, still playing to the gallery of reportage are not the MSMs, but webdailies -- Newslaundry, TheNewsMinute, The Hoot, TheWire.in and so on.
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One of my friend complained back, "They write anti-gov, anti-army articles too."
Huh. Why do you want to be a fan boy, when you can be a free thinker and a patriot, simultaneously?
As per the Constitution, People of India/India come first, the Army and Government come later. 

This is important, as we, as public go GaGa over a Jawan's death at the border, but remain silent over the farmers' suicide, their strike showing their parents' skull hanging on their bare chests, telling stories of generations. Be it, Army or Farmers both need our support, but the question is who need most?
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2 comments:

  1. The present govt is misusing all machinery. It's ominous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "As per the Constitution, People of India/India come first, the Army and Government come later."

    But, without the Army and the Government, how long will the people of India last? and vice versa.

    If your go by the facts of all political parties, for using/misusing the government machinery no govt is better or worse than the other. But the perception in India is, if you sound secular, for you saat khun maaf

    ReplyDelete