Whose Line Is It Anyway?
- Spot-fixing: Chandila was in touch with four sets of bookies, says Delhi Police
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives, to hold talks with PM on boundary, water issues
- IPL 2013: Delhi Daredevils crash to defeat, finish last
- Jaganmohan's wife attacks CBI, accuses it of working at Congress behest
- Blast accused death: UP govt seeks CBI probe, FIR against 42 persons
Was the latest sting operation corporate pique or media unclassified?
With a single sting operation, Naveen Jindal has got TV mileage that money could never buy. On Thursday, all but two TV channels had his expose of Zee's alleged blackmail business in the lead. India TV, whimsical as always, had relegated him to seventh place in a list led by Jaspal Bhatti's obituary, the Kingfisher revival and a Haj report. And Times Now was focused on Nitin Gadkari, whose allegedly benami business interests it has been pursuing in campaign mode.
Times has done a great job of exposing drivers, astrologers and bakers who have been unwittingly running shell companies from fictitious addresses. But the campaign also doubles up as a coverall fig leaf. Simply by keeping the Gadkari investigation at the top of the news list, Times can legitimately put the Jindal reverse sting on the back burner. It needs to, because the Jindal tape is deeply embarrassing for the group. It puts one of media's worst-kept secrets on the record for the first time.
The plot is quite simple. Representatives of Jindal Steel and Zee News had been talking about running an expensive ad campaign in return for damping down news on the coal scam. Each party says the other made the offer but this aap pehle controversy need not detain us. What is of interest is that there was a misunderstanding. Jindal's men thought they would have to shell out Rs 20 crore over five years. Zee's reps, news editor Sudhir Chaudhary and business editor Sameer Ahluwalia, strongly believed that the figure was Rs 20 crore per year over five years, or Rs 100 crore. At the meeting, Team Jindal protests that hiking the price tag by a factor of five is absurd. What follows is an embarrassment to the Times Group.
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held
- Rajasthan Royals to file FIR against tainted trio
- If found guilty, BCCI to ask ICC to erase Sreesanth records
- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
- PM takes tough line on incursion issue
- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in 'friendly fire'