Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Saints At NDTV



In February 2012 when a CBI trial court dismissed a petition of Subramaniam Swamy, seeking naming P. Chidambaram in the 2G case, the greatest tears of joy weren’t from the Congress party but from quite a few in the media. Some of those reporting from the court were jumping in joy over the relief for PC. There is a perception that PC is a darling of NDTV and it is in that context that some recent developments concerning the channel’s financial dealings are in public discussion again. Manushi, a trust run by social activist Madhu Kishwar, and she have been issued a legal notice for defamation by NDTV.

The notice for defamation started over an article published by Manushi titled “NDTV & Chidambaram Accused of Money Laundering Scam of Rs. 5500 cr”. The article also linked a Youtube video (which appears in the name of ManushiIndia) which has an IT Commissioner SK Srivastava narrating his thwarted battle in this alleged scam. This has been making the rounds for quite some time. The main contention of NDTV’s legal notice is that the article is based on bogus sources and in their own words: “Mr. Srivastava's charges are nothing new. These are completely bogus and laughably false claims that Mr. Srivastava and his associates have been making for years, which have repeatedly been dismissed by every authority who has examined them. That is the reason that no rational journalist has ever published these accusations in the past few years”. Alright, that part by NDTV is true that Srivastava’s claims have been dismissed and no journalist has ever published these accusations. The funny part is media houses and journalists don’t publish scams about their own “Hammam” even when there is reason to do so. What NDTV claims is also from old proceedings but don’t take into account latest developments in the case.

The latest discussions on these allegations started with Ram Jethmalani writing a letter to PC on December 6, 2013 (which is much after the dismissals of cases being mentioned by NDTV). What RamJ states makes stunning reading. Here’s a pic of part of the contents:

It is evident RamJ minces no words and directly accuses PC and his son being owners of the money allegedly laundered by NDTV. This is not the first time RamJ has accused PC in black-money related issues. Sometime back he wrote in the Sunday Guardian a stinging article titled “Friend, father & philosopher of black money is Chidambaram”. So S. Gurumurthy, a BJP finance specialist and freelance journalist, picks up RamJ’s notes and has a chat with Prannoy Roy who then sends a detailed reply to Gurumurthy on the queries. Obviously, SG isn’t happy with some parts of the reply so he writes back with more stinging observations. Let’s read some edited excerpts from SG’s mail:

There are two aspects to this issue. First, I never said that when Sumana Sen became the AO you hired her husband Abhisar Sharma. I had said she was the AO when Abhisar Sharma was your employee – which disqualified her from assessing the NDTV. Next she did make an assessment and give NDTV a refund of Rs 1.47 cr – which assessment was done illegally under Sec 143(1) which ought not to have been done when a notice for that assessment u/s 143(2) was pending. So you have not been properly briefed by whosoever gave you the facts. In fact from the manner of your response, your knowledge of the facts regarding Sharma-Sen seems to be very limited. Here are the correct facts.

In the links provided you will find that the IT Commissioner SK Srivastava whose investigations are under discussion by Manushi was also accused of sexually harassing this particular lady, Sumana Sen and one of her colleagues.

Even NDTV with all its posturing of moral high ground never informed the Govt./Income Tax Deptt. about that and kept silent about the fact that the wife of its employee (Sri Abhisar Sharma) had become the Assessing Officer of NDTV, all its group companies and all its Directors including you under all the Direct Tax Acts. Even more importantly, in March 2005, five months after she became its assessing officer and all its group companies and all its Directors including you, NDTV offered through Abhisar Sharma European tour at its cost to Sumana Sen – a luxury which, the Income tax deparment has found, was not offered to any other employee of his grade.

After accepting the NDTV offer to foot her holiday travel to Europe by concealing the fact that she was the assessing officer, on March 28, 2005, Sumana Sen passed assessment order u/s 143 (1) of the Income Tax Act accepting the return of NDTV and granting a refund of Rs 1.47 crore. This was completely an illegal order as when this was order was made, there was already a notice issued u/s 143(2) of the Act and pending against NDTV for scrutiny assessment. The law declared by the Supreme Court is that when such a notice is pending no assessment u/s 143(1) can be made.
Ten days after Sumana Sen had made the assessment on NDTV u/s 143(1) and granted the illegal refund of Rs 1.47, on April 8, 2005, the government granted permission to her to avail of the benefit of travel to Europe, but prohibiting her from accepting it, if at any point of time she had any official dealings, either in the present or in the past with NDTV.
Despite being the assessing officer of NDTV and its associates and having passed order illegally refunding Rs 1.47 cr to NDTV on March 28, 2005, just 13 days before, on 10.04.2005 Sumana Sen gave a false and fraudulent undertaking that she was not the Assessing Officer of NDTV Ltd., has never dealt with the case of NDTV and has never had any official dealings with it.

The other parts concern funds raised by NDTV here, there and everywhere with their 21 subsidiary companies. You know, like “Chota mota” funds. There is another site (Mumbaiwalla) that details this recognition of Abhisar Sharma’s excellent work as a TV anchor for which he was rewarded by NDTV with a luxury trip to Europe. You have to believe NDTV that this grand trip for Abhisar Sharma had nothing to do with his wife, Sumana Sen, being the IT officer assessing NDTV’s returns and accounts. Sharma could have well been the “performer of the year” at the channel. Maybe NDTV should just a release a list of all its employees that were given such luxury trips as rewards. That brings us to the important question why NDTV chose only Manushi/Madhu Kishwar for legal action for defamation.

For a start, this isn’t the first time NDTV has been in the news for bad financial dealings or IT related bungling. Besides the articles linked here there was also a report by Sunday Guardian on “NDTV loan chicanery”. From Radiagate to financial scandals, NDTV makes more news on these than any other achievements. The reason for legal action against Madhu Kishwar seems to be basically to make her a “bakra” so that others get the message loud and clear: “don’t mess with us”. Even otherwise NDTV has always been trigger-happy in such actions, be it TAM ratings or a stray blogger on “shoddy journalism”. The reason to act against Manushi is that it will cause the latter some stress in legal expenses if the case goes any further. This won’t work with RamJ given he’s a tough lawyer himself and won’t have to buy legal expertise. The other reason is RamJ has written a letter to the finance minister on NDTV’s scams and not made any public disclosure. Although his letter has been leaked or released to the public it doesn’t make a case for defamation. Kishwar’s case is different in that she not only put out the information directly into public domain (including a video) and is not a private letter to someone seeking an investigation.

It is, however, an undeniable fact that Madhu Kishwar has only put out information that was already in the public domain with additional claims of documents received by her. People were tweeting about the allegations against NDTV under the hashtag #PCWedsNDTV. So NDTV may hope that with their legal threat the talk on social media may dissipate and these allegations can fade. So, for NDTV to claim that only Kishwar’s article defamed them is nothing but spite. Naturally, the English “Hammam” gave a pass to the charges made by RamJ against both NDTV and PC. But it seems to have appeared in some Hindi papers as this tweet indicates (I have erased the Twitter handles):

I’m sure the Hindi paper didn’t bother to check with NDTV either as they have demanded of Madhu Kishwar. It has merely reported an exchange. If one goes through RamJ’s letter it will be clear that SK Srivastava has gone through and is still facing a lot of cases for doing his job. Given that NDTV is friendly with the current govt in charge at the centre the frequent allegations against them is not being investigated thoroughly. Each time these come up, the folks at NDTV claim they are “Saints” and are divinely free of any guilt. Either that or it’s a mere ‘error of judgement’. It will take a new govt, if it is courageous enough, to investigate and prosecute the many misdeeds of the MSM. 


29 comments :

  1. Thanks for bringing this out. I read about this scam few weeks back. Even Dr Swamy made a reference to this in his tweets. There is a video as well on youtube where Dr Swamy rips apart the FM for his black market dealings with his usual wit and humour. A must watch.

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    1. When is Modi sarkar going to crack down on this corruption, if ever? Or does he also need permission from "the family"

      Finally, if both UPA and NDA are going to pursue the same policies & lax attitude towards such corruption then what should one conclude?

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    2. Check the below link. one of the earliest supporters of narendra modi - ram jethmalani- expressing disappointment on,black money probe.

      http://mumbaiwalla.com/black-money-jethmalani-hints-top-nda-minister-thwarting-probe-seeks-appointment-with-modi/


      on this one issue - people will rip apart the bjp govt if concrete , definitive progress is not achieved

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  2. I hope RamJ takes up the case on behalf of madhuK for free.
    Ndtv also had a cbi investigation against it in late nineties. Not sure what happened to that.
    The NDA was stupid enough to have not followed thru some cases like these. . It even bailed out Rahul Gandhi, never issued letter rogatory against Sonia Gandhi. That is the reason they got kicked out and remained out of power for ten years now .

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    1. you have put it very aptly, hope BJP will not commit the same mistake if they come back to power, they should sieve through the news archives from past 60 years and systematically haul out all the misdeeds, and make the culprits pay for it

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    2. It has been rightly said that we Indians especially, the Hindus lack the killer instinct that is required to survive in this world.Be it cricket or olympic sports, we just dont rise to the occassion when the situation demands it. As for Madhu Kishwar maam, who has relentlessly supported NaMo we dont see any move by the BJP either overtly or covertly to defend her against the legal proceedings.One must learn from the Communists or the jihadis on how their pro ideology criminals are defended till their last breadth.It is time that Hindus learn not to give an inch of their space in the name of magnanimity. I do not know to which imaginary gallery they are playing to.Just last night we had a debate on Times Now on communalism. While all guns were blazing on the BJP spokesmen, none of the secularists had a problem with notorious Owaisi who is the best known jihadi terrorist MP in the parliament..

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    3. Couldn't agree more Anand. I take that to a more general conclusion, that there's *no point* debating with the many many people who are clearly not interested in truth or honest debate. In the absence of any other obvious way to deal with such people, brute force seems to be the only option. Our civilisation has lost that Kshatriya spirit.

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  3. We all know wheelings and dealings of PC Lungijee. But Madhu, Srivastava and RJ must take extra precaution as anti-National elements who run NDTV will do anything to silence them.

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  4. Wow ! 21 shell companies? Even two should be enough to put people away under FERA. There are enough scams here to shut down NDTV and put its promoters behind bars.

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    1. And since it's not going to happen under UPA or NDA regimes, what conclusions will *you* as a "smart" citizen draw?

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  5. Financial dealings of these large media houses should be scrutinized and all their illegal activities exposed by the new government under Modi.

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  6. Good morning MC. As usual a brilliant one. You hit the nail on the head when you call indian MSM Mafia gang. But our MSM is worse since Mafia at least are honest not to don the mattle of Saints. And your point about new Govt. taking action against these anti-nationals, I am somewhat sceptical about that looking at the track record if ND Govt headed by Vajpayee last time. No doubt it's Modi this time, I hope he doesnt get dazzled by the glamour of Lutyens Delhi. Have a nice day..:)

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  7. On one hand we have honest officers like Mr. SK Srivastava who have dared to unearth the dirty dealings of the darlings of the present government....and on the other hand we have the traitor CM of Delhi who claims to be god's gift to mankind. The worst thing is, mindless morons blindly follow the traitor!

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  8. Thank you for raising your strong and credible voice of support, against brute display of power by these media houses.

    This "जिस थाली में खाना, उसी में छेद करना" (bite the hand that feeds one) wrt freedom of expression, is deplorable and condemnable.

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  9. I don't think even Modi will do anything regarding this. He will just use this as a leash to keep NDTV in control.

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    1. 100% Right!!!
      What Modi is trying is to bring down high raise tower named Congress breaking it from the Top by targeting Gandhi's only what he don't know if he place a dynamite under the tower whole building will collapse...So first he has to destroy chilar gang until and unless he targets gang of Tiwari, Sibal, PC he cant bring down corrupt Congress sultanate.

      By the way we cant expect sensible attack from other BJP leaders. This is what Arun Shorie said inside Parliament what is happening is kind of Match Fixing/compromise between Ruling and opposition party.

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  10. A healthy sign of democracy is : even the media is under check... I believed that if one of the media houses was involved in a scam, others will expose the scam , giving them a credibility boost. But in India, not a single media house took up the issue, the only possible explaination is , all are hand in glove & everybody has a baggage to carry.. Thanks to SocialMedia , now this nexus is also under scanner.. GreatJob!!!

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  11. Here is an interesting link that discusses the story threadbare.


    http://www.pcwedsndtv.blogspot.in/

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  12. The whole world knows how PC won and entered Parliament. He famously declared when Coalgate was unfolding that that there is no loss at all as long as coal is burried in earth..Such "Knowledgable ": person presided over the inflation .and sky high price raise , and overall dismal fall in economic indexes. His manipulative and oratorical skills may not help always as God is Great.

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  13. Thanks Ravi for letting us know about the corrupt dealings of NDTV otherwise most of us won't have known it.
    We always had doubts about this channel as it is one of the worst channels, gets poor TRP's and still the channel runs without any hiccups.

    It also runs charity programmes for Saving Tiger, Educating children etc.
    This is shocking as a channel which needs a charity for itself is giving charity to others.

    Prannoy Roy should be hammered to speak the truth about himself and NDTV.
    I can only hope that the new government (when it comes under Modi) takes this case seriously and wipes NDTV out of this business.

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  14. But what's the point? Some things are just like "sun rises from the east". Every body knows it, even judges probably know it when they are giving the verdict, but there aren't enough evidence to prove it, cycle of life keeps going in this vicious cycle. Remember "Damini- Tarikh Pe Tarikh................." :-)....the accused will continue with their lives as the days slip past forever.

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  15. It appears to me that AAP is a red herring. It may win a few seats but its main agenda could be to divert people's attentions away from scams that people should have been pursuing and focusing on such as coal, cwg, 2G, Himachal scam, Vadra scam, PC scam,, etc., at least until the elections are over.

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  16. The corruption has permeated into every system in the country with this party of traitors the Congress in power. Whether we can get these Aegean stables cleaned this year remains to be seen.

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  17. Will the BJP go after these media crooks? Past experience doesn't fill one with hope. It has been alleged that Arun Jaitley went soft on Barkha Dutt on Radia tapes affair after she personally begged him. Vajpayee and Advani did not lift a finger about 1984 riots, Bofors etc. Perhaps, as Subramaniam Swamy alleged, Sonia has a lot of secrets about BJP walas. But Modi is different and we hope that he stays different. He has been treated abominably by these media crooks and he is not beholden to anyone. However, very many in the BJP may have a lot of skeletons in their cupboards and may be reluctant to push the matter and thwart Modi in his quest against these scumbags.

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  18. Three cheers to Ravinar for bring out the dark dealings of the paid MSM in public domain. I m sure these media morons wud not be spare as soon as NaMo comes to power..I feel the entire social media should be behind Madhu ji in her fight with NDTV. Truth must prevail..

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  19. Three cheers to Ravinar for bring out the dark dealings of the paid MSM in public domain. I m sure these media morons wud not be spare as soon as NaMo comes to power..I feel the entire social media should be behind Madhu ji in her fight with NDTV. Truth must prevail..

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  20. If you are not our source of news we may miss so many shady dealings of MSM and UPA. Its only SM and some bold and straight watchers like you who bring out the truth in public domain. Three cheers to you.

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  21. committed cbi,committed judiciary,committed corporate and now it is the committed media.

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