THE KING’S LOOT
Hats off for the well-researched story. It clearly exposes Raja’s true colours. His ambition drove him to outsmart even his mentor. The adage ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ no longer rings true as politicians like Raja secure their own future by looting the country in broad daylight.
IRFAN IQBAL GHETA, ON EMAIL
Refer to Jeemon Jacob’s ‘The House That Raja Built’, 1 January.
Whether Karunanidhi knew about what Raja was doing or not is immaterial. Until and unless the large sum of money is returned to the government coffers, such talk is useless. The government should immediately cancel the 2G licences, get the money back from telecom companies and initiate a new round of auction with utmost transparency.
BAL GOVIND, ON EMAIL
FALLING ON DEAF EARS
Refer to ‘The Unturned Stone’ by Rana Ayyub, 1 January.
All the investigating agencies involved will do as little as possible and drag the case on until these men die of old age. Look at the cases against Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar for orchestrating the murder of thousands of Sikhs; they are still walking free. Had these army officers been Sikhs or Muslims, they would have all been court martialled by now and thrown into jail. Most likely they would have been liquidated by the army or the CBI. You think this is far-fetched? How come Narendra Modi is still free? There is plenty of blood on his hands. How about LK Advani for planning the Babri Masjid demolition? Look at how many times Simranjit Singh Mann has been arrested. Look at the charges against him. The Indian government does not have the stomach for dealing with Hindutva.
RAJBIR S SANDHU, ON EMAIL
Though your article highlights a possible terror link between the army and Hindutva groups, it ignores the cause and effect of many undesirable policies of the State because of which we are in this situation. Since Independence, the Centre’s policy has been that of minority appeasement. In the name of secularism, both the government and the media have rallied behind the minorities, turning a blind eye towards their hand in crime and at the cost of the majority for material gains. It’s high time the media restrains itself from creating an unfavourable atmosphere in the name of secularism.
VENKATESH KIKKERI, ON EMAIL
Refer to ‘The Glitz and the Gore’, by Manmohan Gupta and VK Shashikumar, 25 December.
In a country where crores are spent on ‘Save Tiger’ campaigns, it is a disgrace that such illicit trade is happening in broad daylight. The exorbitant amount of money expended on the advertisements of these campaigns should be used instead in spreading awareness about poachers and their methods.
The Judicial Accountability Bill has to widen its ambit to include nepotism cases. I wish our judiciary was free, fair and fearless as well.
YASHKUMAR SINGH, ON FACEBOOK
Refer to ‘In the Court of the Father’, by Brijesh Pandey and Kunal Majumder, 18 December.
The article places conclusions before proof. It is unfair and inaccurate. Quoting senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, it says that I, Shivam Sharma, a Lucknow-based lawyer with a legal practice of just three years, had filed income tax returns of Rs. 80 lakh. This is absolutely false and scandalous. I have put in about a decade in legal practice (registered in 2001). My last two IT returns were Rs. 2.6 lakh and Rs. 3.81 lakh respectively, the tax last paid being Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 32,305 respectively. This offending article has brought my name and that of my family into disrepute. I may add that my father, Justice Rakesh Sharma, sat as a judge at the principal seat of the high court at Allahabad till his retirement in July 2010, whereas I have been practising at the Lucknow Bench from day one. It is shocking to learn that such a statement was made by a senior counsel and former law minister without verifying facts.
SHIVAM SHARMA, ON EMAIL
Refer to Pulp & Noir, 8 January.
On the cover, Siddharth Chowdhury’s name was erroneously printed as Siddhartha. In the contents page, the Issue Design should have been attributed to Sudeep Chaudhuri.
Refer to Paranjoy Guha Thakurta’s ‘The ABC of the 2G scam’, 1 January.
The total loss to the country due to the 2G telecom scam could be more than 1,000 for each citizen and not 10,000 as mentioned.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Refer to Jeemon Jacob’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Loot’, 25 December.
My colleagues in Nakkheeran and I always held TEHELKA in high esteem. We used to feel that there is a kindred spirit elsewhere too to bring out the truth against all odds. Our shared history of fighting for justice, truth and taking on the powers-that-be from the point of view of ordinary citizens should make us natural partners.
However, with enormous sense of hurt, I must point out that the piece carried by your esteemed publication has blatantly false and concocted news, causing irreparable damage to my name and professional standing as a journalist. My residential flat was raided by the CBI on 15 December and nothing incriminating was found. The investigating officers took away the property document relating to my flat, the loan documents regarding the purchase of the same, my cell phone’s SIM card, passport and bank passbook. A document was issued regarding the items taken away. But TEHELKA made the following harmful, totally manufactured claims:
1. My wife Jayasudha is the general manager of Niira Radia’s Chennai office.
2. The CBI had unearthed documents from my family residence in Perambalur relating to various financial dealings, including land transactions.
3. I was interrogated by the police in 1998 in connection with the murder of a police informer, Bhaktavatsalam, by sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.
All these rather damaging false assertions could have been avoided if your reporter had bothered to check the facts. As a scribe, I always made myself available to any journalist in my two-and-a-half decades as a reporter and then as associate editor. My wife has nothing to do with Radia, and for that matter has never been employed anywhere till date. The CBI did not search my family residence in Perambalur in the first place, let alone unearthing documents relating to any land transactions. And I was never ever interrogated by the police in connection with any aspect of Veerappan’s excesses.
A KAMARAJ, ASSOCIATE EDITOR,
JEEMON JACOB CLARIFIES
1. My source had informed me that Jayasudha was working with Vaishnavi Communications. I cross-checked the information with two others who confirmed she was indeed working for Niira Radia’s firm. But I don’t have the documents to prove it. I admit I should have sought a response.
2. It is true that though Kamaraj’s Besant Nagar flat was raided, I had erroneously reported that there was a raid also at his Perambalur residence. I stand corrected.
3. In the well-known Bhaktavatsalam murder case, some Nakkheeran staffers were implicated and several employees, including senior editors like Kamaraj, were questioned by the Crime Branch in January 2003 in the course of the investigation.
IN THE TRAP
Refer to ‘The Glitz and the Gore’, by Manmohan Gupta and VK Shashikumar, 25 December.
Following up on the leads provided by the TEHELKA exposé on tiger poaching, the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (NWCB) has launched one of its biggest law enforcement operations.
A special team led by Pithoragarh Divisional Forest Officer DTG Sambandam along with Assistant Conservator of Forest Mahipal Sirohi and Forest Ranger Himalaya Singh Tulia achieved the first breakthrough on 23 December when they caught Kailash alias Gullu, one of the poachers exposed in the TEHELKA investigation.
“We arrested Gulab Singh Kutiyal (Kailash) as he tried to pass through the forest checkpost in Dharchula on the Indo-Nepal border,” says Sambandam. With this arrest, wildlife crime control officials have been able to track down several criminals involved in the illegal international wildlife trade. The team has recovered a cell phone from Kutiyal that has the phone numbers of several people involved in the poaching network.
“We have confirmed that Kutiyal is a resident of Dharchula and his network received tiger and leopard skins from the Terai region of Uttarakhand. These were then smuggled to China through the Indo-Nepal border or transported to Majnu Ka Tila in Delhi for further shipment to international buyers,” says Sambandam.
“The TEHELKA investigation has had a terrific impact because it has provided us with a lot of leads that helped us conduct a massive intelligence- led enforcement operation. We have circulated all the pictures of the poachers revealed by TEHELKA,” says Sambandam.