Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal and the Quality of Indian Journalism

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Regular readers of the Indian press would certainly recognize the name, Tehelka. Rabidly pro western in it political and editorial stance and vehemently pro Congress in its ideological orientation, Tehelka acqired a degree of notoriety when it launched what is called a sting operation against Bangaru Laxman, the President of the BJP, a party which is contesting the Congress all over the country. Though the President of the BJP was not holding any public office, nor was he in any fiduciary sense   in a capacity to influence decisions in the defense ministry during the NDA rule, the sting operation caught the President accepting one hundred thousand rupees from the Tehelka journalist who secretly filmed this. The Congress went to town proclaiming the "corruption and venality" of the BJP led Government. Never mind that there was no bribe paid and it was perfectly legal to accept party contributions, the BJP abandoned any defense of the President and he was sentenced to a jail term which he served. 

Tehelka is a new kind of ideologically driven, headline grabbing electronic journalistic venture. It specializes in uncovering scams, scandals and other goings on in BJP ruled on BJP friendly states.  Tarun Tejpal the aging Editor and his second in command a woman called Shoma Choudhary are well known faces in the country's English news channels and whenever they appear they very predictable give of the Congress spiel and refuse to subject the drivel they espouse to any critical scrutiny. Even though it was known that the sting operation against the President of the BJP was illegal the successive Congress regimes continued to prosecute the dalit President of the BJP. On almost all majot controversies such as the Gujarat Riots of 2002 and the more recent episode of a woman who perhaps came under police surveillance in Gujarat for extra legal reasons, Tarun and his cohort Shoma were at their shrillest on television channels like NDTV another Congress friendly news channel.

Tehelka seems to be a front for a number of illegal companies which are funding this news organization. Though the ostensible owner of Tehelka is a Bengali MP from Mamtha Banerjee's TMC, Tarun Tejpal and his family are the dejure owners as nearly 19% of the shares are owned by Tejpal, giving him effective control over the day to day functioning of the news organizations. The holding companies of Tehelka even managed to get unsecured loans to the tune of 1,400 crores which invited the strong sanction of the regulator, SEBI. The balance sheet of Tehelka and its associated companies are not available for public scrutiny and this itself shows that the Company was involved in many shady and dubious, perhaps even illegal activite. It may even turn out that some of the illegal wealth of Congress politicians may be parked in Tehelka.

Tarun Tejpal is in the news for attempting to rape a female employee of his when the International Film Festival was held in Goa recently. Apparently he cornered her in the life of the five star hotel where he and his staff were staying and abused her sexually. When the girl complained to the "Managing Editor" a woman called Shoma Choudhary also from Kolkatta, she made it appear as if the whole affair was consensual and that the woman was making a fuss over nothing. Tejpal magnanimously offered to take leave from the editorial duties and both the man and his woman felt that the ends of justice had been met. In India, there is growing intolerance toward sexual harassment and exploitation and the words of Nancy Poweel mean nothing as she is not aware of the reality of India today. The outrage against Tarun Tejpal and his "Managing Editor" Shoma Choudhary resulted in the Goa police registering  a case of rape against Tejpal.The mananagment of Tehelka is putting a lot of pressure on the young girl not to cooperate with the Police in its investigatioon and this is the way the"flag bearer" of the so called secular liberalism behaves in India.

The Congress is trying to shield its journalistic hit man with all the power at its command. The Minister of the Congress regime whom we jocularly refer to as the Dr Goebbels of the Regime, the Minister for Mis information and Propaganda, the voluble Manish Tewari has not said a word about this incident in public. Obviously the regime would like the uproar to quieten and then offer him some plum assignemnts like membership of the Prasar Bharati Board. The ammended Rape laws that have been passed allow for procecution even if the woman does not file a written compalint. So the ends of justice may yet be met.

This episode only shows that blackmailing journalists like Tarun Tejpal are predatory sexual perverts and like Rathore and Kanda need to be in jail.

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