From the time Baba Ramdev announced his hunger strike program I had written ‘CNN-IBN Inaugurates mud-slinging season’ on June 2. Since then, as predicted, some channels had launched a vicious attack on Ramdev on his trusts, his funds, his companies and so on. CNN-IBN being the leader of this pack. In contrast to the near pampering that Anna Hazare receives from these channels, Ramdev has been the subject of non-stop attacks about 1100 crores of assets, land grabbing, his assistant being a criminal with a fake passport. Anything goes.
These attacks were not just visible on CNN-IBN on TV but also on their website. Let’s try and understand each of these articles: (The likes/dislikes are figures at the end of each article posted on their website at the time of writing this)
Govt probes graft charges against Ramdev, aide – Meetu Jain, June 7 (Like 68/Dislike 74)
Acharya Balkrishna has been missing after the June 4 clash at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. Sources say the Government will probe the alleged fake passport Balkrishna holds. If the immigration department puts up a complaint, action will be taken against him…. Some of the details made available by government sources to CNN-IBN reveal a maze of companies that are run and maintained by Ramdev's key men…. “Balkrishna is a Nepalese citizen. He committed a crime there and came to India. He also has a Nepalese passport" said Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh.
If by now CNN-IBN hasn’t learned that Digvijay Singh is a gutter mouth who utters a lot of nonsense then I seriously have to question their journalistic intelligence. In any case, a lot of trash has been passed on in this article as gospel without really verifying any of its contents. Okay, so what government sources revealed to CNN-IBN the maze of companies? Is that a big secret? What are the names of the companies? If CNN-IBN already knew this why were they pestering Ramdev for details about these? This is bullshit being passed on in the name of journalism. Next. Balkrishna is Nepalese, is a criminal with a fake passport according to DS. What is CNN-IBN? A faithful dog of DS? Why does it repeat these foolish statements without any verification?
Here’s a report from Outlook:
“Following the controversy over Balkrishana's nationality, the records of the passport office here were examined and it has been found that his passport no. 245797 has been issued in 1997 showing him as resident of Haridwar, passport officer Sudhakar Rastogi said.The office used to issue passports to the residents of Uttaranchal before the new state came into being, he said. Rastogi said that passport is issued only after the report by LIU, police and CID. When the reports of these three agencies said that the applicant is Indian only then it was issued”.
Well, Rajdeep Sardesai did you publish that piece of information as follow up to the article under reference or did you report that on TV? Relaying statements of motivated politicians, known to spread lies without even the basic verification and presentation of facts is pretty close to peddling lies.
Ramdev's Rs 1100 cr empire under scanner – Meetu Jain, June 7 (Like 97/Dislike 124)
"Balkrishna is a Nepalese citizen. He committed a crime there and came to India. He has three passports. They should be investigated. He is a thug," said Digvijay Singh……The government is hot on his trail, some of the details made available by government sources to CNN-IBN reveals a maze of companies that were run and maintained by Baba's key men..
Some new ones:
The health ministry says it will scrutinise the drug business of Baba Ramdev. "We will look at these issues once the dust settles," said Ghulam Nabi Azad….This is not the first brush with controversy for Ramdev. In January 2006 also charges of land grab had surfaced. CNN-IBN had then reported that Ramdev's Patanjali Peeth Yog had grabbed government land. Now the Roorkee SDM has confirmed a farm land grab of over 2.98 hectares. Asked about allegations of land grab against the Divya Yog trust in 2006, this is how Acharya Balkrishna reacted in January 2006….."Who are you to ask me? Who do you think you are. I won’t reply," he said.
Alright, this UPA has been in power since 2004 why is it only now that these charges are coming up? Is that not the job of CNN-IBN to ask? No, hang on, it has the exact quote of Balkrishna…. “who are you to ask me…” and so on. Do you have a record of that Rajdeep? Can you show us which newspaper or TV channel has a record of such a statement? Did you ask the SDM of Roorkee why he didn’t act if there was a case of land-grab? Why aren’t you seeking action against this government officer for dereliction of duty? Or why hasn’t he reported it to the appropriate authorities? Do you guys at CNN-IBN pass hearsay as news reports?
Ramdev charges for blessings: ex-followers – Arunoday Mukherjee – June9 (Like 86/Dislike 145)
Some of his former followers have alleged that Ramdev charges exorbitant amounts for simply making appearance…."He has received so much money and all of it has gone for his selfish requirements, nothing for the poor," alleges Kolkata industrialist Piyush Pandey, who was once a loyal follower of Ramdev….. If you want blessings from the Baba within close proximity, it will cost you Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000. If you want him to distribute prasad at your home, be ready to pay somewhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh…. The icing on the cake is that if you want him to stay at your house, you don't get rent, instead he will have to be paid anything from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. Moreover, to be a part of a shivir, the charge is Rs 1 crore…. To become a corporate member one has to pay Rs 11 lakh while the rate for becoming a founder member, patron member, life member and general member are Rs 5 lakh, Rs 2.5 lakh, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 11,000 respectively.
I can’t believe all this is some big news. So out of crores of followers Arunoday Mukherjee picks up a few followers or ex-followers who make these charges. Have these been verified? Is there any documentary evidence or solid proof of any kind? Okay, even assuming there won’t be any proof or these followers are speaking the truth, what exactly is new or disturbing to CNN-IBN about this? Are their reporters from Sweden or Iceland? Have they never been to Tirupati which has paid-for-lines, which sells ‘prasad laddus’ in black, have they never been to that Ajmer Darga where you get priority only if you hand out the bigger notes? Don’t spiritual speakers charge money? Does the Pope live in a hut or a mansion? Does his mansion look anything like what Jesus Christ would have lived in? So why single out this guy Ramdev for special treatment? What’s the motive? And in case Rajdeep Sardesai is really ignorant there are plenty of sites that report the manner in which our media is funded. Some of them even suggest that CNN-IBN is funded by Westboro Baptist Church. Should we believe all that? Can you explain the post I made about your group channel CNBC and all the allegations that are floating around? Your channel refers to the fund collection at Delhi. Did you see any coercion in that activity? So why should we believe that everything contained in this money collection part is not exaggeration as we know the media to indulge in?
Ramdev’s asset declaration just eyewash – June 9 (Like 63/Dislike 95)
The title of the article itself is filled with malice. Fact is, Ramdev was under no obligation whatsoever to declare his assets or funds or anything. That he did so needs to be appreciated. In case CNN-IBN wants to poke holes into his audited statements they should conduct their own investigation. As for business companies that Ramdev holds, what is wrong in being asked to get the information from the ROC? Are CNN-IBN and other media persons so lazy that they can’t get off their ass and even do that much? Have media people simply become ‘studio musicians’ who have to be breast-fed with every info they want? That too from the very person they are accusing of economic frauds? Rajdeep, ever heard of the Fifth Amendment in the US constitution? If the media and the government are making accusations against Ramdev it is their job to investigate and prove their accusations. It is not Ramdev’s job to incriminate himself. That’s the law assholes. And isn’t CNN-IBN the channel that says ‘Whatever it takes’? If so, do whatever it takes, investigate and prove Ramdev to be a criminal. That would be real journalism. Don’t beg and ask to be breast-fed info from the one you’re accusing of economic crimes.
Ramdev ended his fast today. According to Subramanian Swamy both, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are right now in Switzerland to “handle their black money” as he puts it. How about that Rajdeep? There are unending allegations of black money against Sonia Gandhi, some with supposed documentary evidences from KGB and Swiss magazines. How come you haven’t asked asked a single question about that? Swamy, Jethmalani and many others have made serious charges of black money against Sonia Gandhi. Swamy has even sought permission to prosecute her. How come all that is not news on your channel? I wonder who CNN-IBN's daddy is really!
How come CNN-IBN is absolutely ignorant about all the allegations against Sonia Gandhi? If someone clamours about 1100 crores all the time, they should get some facts. 1100 tons of mud is hardly the answer!