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Why is no media house willing to comment on Mukesh Ambani’s defamation notice to them for telecasting Kejriwal’s presser?

Arvind Kejriwal

What does a media house do if the richest man in India sends it a defamation notice for telecasting a press conference criticising Mr Richie Rich himself? Take the oft-criticised stance of most of their interviewees it seems, and go with the “no comment” response if questioned on the matter. How about raise a voice of dissent or publicise the absurdness of receiving such a notice? Don’t be ridiculous. This is the Silence Of The Media Lambs Redux.

Reliance Industries Limited is said to have issued a legal notice to TV news channels that had telecast live two of Arvind Kejriwal’s press conferences in which he made allegations against Mukesh Ambani. According to sanserif, the seven page-long notice was served by law firm A.S. Dayal & Associates in mid-December. It is believed to have told TV channels that “Live telecast of these press conferences amounts to permanent publication of defamatory material relating to our client by you.”

Each of the two press conferences were telecast live without making any attempt to verify the truth or veracity of the statements and allegations being made during the press conference.” The following is a copy of the alleged notice that The Aam Aadmi Party had posted on its facebook page.

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Newslaundry contacted various news channels to confirm whether they had indeed received a legal notice. After being given the run around from editorial to corporate communications to legal departments, we were greeted by a wall of silence and a “no comment” policy which would make most politicians proud. While we understand that being a pending legal matter, organisations can’t comment on their response to the notice, it is slightly strange that they are even refusing to comment on whether they’ve received the notice or not. The long arm of the Ambanis it seems is very long and very quietening.

Not even Reliance seems ready to comment on this. When Newslaundry contacted the company’s corporate communications department, they requested for some time to get back on the matter, and then undertook a disappearing act which would make Houdini proud.

A little ironic that while TV news debates demand high level of accountability in public life, there is a pin-drop silence on what goes on within their organisations. Even CNN-IBN refuses to comment on the matter.

Interestingly, while most TV channels – whose only sin is that they were doing their job and reporting the news, and telecast a press conference which was being covered by everyone – are believed to have received the notice, the errant Aam Aadmi Party has not. Arvind Kejriwal, anti-corruption activist and head of the party told us that no such notice had been received by him or anyone in his party.

Prashant Bhushan too, told Pioneer, “They (Reliance) have studiously avoided legal notices to us and deliberately targeted only the media to scare them”. And just to add insult to injury, Kejriwal has sent a letter to Mukesh Ambani asking him to stop threatening the media and questioning why a notice has been sent to news channels but not to Prashant Bhushan or Kejriwal himself. It’s obvious, he writes to Mukesh Ambani, that this was done with the sole intention of steamrolling the TV channels into subservience. And if anyone has defamed Ambani, it is Ambani himself through his misdeeds. He also writes that if the allegations are proved correct “you (Mukesh Ambani) should be put in jail”.

The English translation of Arvind Kejriwal’s letter to Mukesh Ambani:

Dear Mr Mukesh Ambani, 

You have recently sent a defamation notice to a number of TV channels. Their “crime” is that they aired the press conference held on the 31st October 2012 and 9th November 2012, by Prashant Bhushan and me, live. In our press conference, we presented before the country how you had illegally pressurized the government into increasing gas prices. We also told the country that your associates and your companies have accounts in Swiss banks where black money had been stashed away. Many TV channels aired our expose live.  All these TV channels have now received defamation notices from you. 

I find it quite perplexing. If you felt that you have been defamed by what Prashant Bhushan and I said, then we are the real culprits and, if you had to send a defamation notice, it should have been to us. The TV channels merely broadcast what we said. Despite this, instead of sending us the defamation notice, you have sent it to the TV channels. It is evident that your sole purpose of sending this notice was to steamroll the TV channels into subservience. 

The people of India want to ask you some straight questions: 

·        Is it not true that the list of those who have accounts in Swiss Banks, as received by the Government of India, includes your name and the names of your relatives, your friends and your companies?

·        Is it not true that a balance of Rs. 100 crores is shown against your name in this list?

·        Is it not true that you have paid the tax on this amount after this list was received by the Government? 

If the above is true, as we suspect it is, it proves that you have admitted your guilt. As per the law of the land, you should be tried and, if the charge of tax evasion is proved, you should be sent to jail.  

However, this would never happen. Why? Because the Government of India is intimidated by you. You have been reported as saying that the Congress Party has been bought by you – it is your dukaan, to be precise. You are right. according to some media reports, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi sometimes travels by your personal aircraft. People believe that Mr. Jaipal Reddy’s ministry was also changed because of your influence. 

Why only the Congress? Even BJP and many other parties are in your pocket. Earlier, Mr. Advani used to make a lot of noise about Swiss Bank accounts, but since your accounts have been exposed, BJP has suddenly gone quiet. BJP has not mentioned a single word in the Parliament about your accounts. 

It appears that almost all parties are afraid of you. Most leaders are scared of you, too. However, the citizens of this country are not scared of you. All parties could be your dukaan but India is not up for sale. India is ours, it belongs to the people of this country. You can purchase political parties and political leaders with your money but we will not let India be sold. 

You say that the TV channels have tainted your reputation by airing our press conference live. That’s wrong. I would urge you to answer this question honestly – Did Prashant Bhushan, myself and the TV Channels defame you or did you defame yourself through your own misdeeds? 

1. In 2002, you gave 1 Crore shares with a market price of Rs. 55 per share to Mr. Pramod Mahajan at just Rs. 1 per share. This was a straight bribe to get “Full Mobility”. When you were caught, you took back the shares. Presently, the matter is In court.  Didn’t you defame yourself by doing this?

2. You have made your multistoreyed residence on Wakf land. This land had been set aside for an orphanage. You have stolen the right of poor and orphaned Muslim children. Didn’t you defame yourself by doing this?

3. A few gas wells belonging to the Country were allotted to you in 2000. You were supposed to extract gas and give it to the government. The gas belongs to us, the people of India. We are the owners of this gas. You were only a contractor appointed to extract the gas. However, cleverly you became the owner of the gas. You started “selling” the gas to the government.

Because the Congress is in your pocket, it always bowed before your bullying. The Congress kept increasing the price of gas under your pressure and the nation kept wailing. Because of you, the prices of electricity, fertilizer and cooking gas kept rising. When it crossed all limits, Mr. Jaipal Reddy opposed you. He was the Minister for Oil and Gas at that time. You got Mr. Jaipal Reddy transferred. Because of you many things have become increasingly expensive in India and the people are groaning under the load of these high prices. Do these shenanigans suit you? Do such acts not defame you? 

The list of such illegal acts done by you is quite long.

The majority of the traders, businessmen and industrialists want to do their work honestly. But the system forces them into wrongdoings. But when a businessman like you brazenly subverts the system for his personal benefit, the entire industry and business world gets a bad name. 

You are on one side with immense wealth. On the other side are the people of this country. The people have now awakened. Fire is raging in their heart. History is witness that whenever there has been a clash between money and such rage, the rage has won. 

Kindly do not try to intimidate the media of this country. There may be some mediamen who may have done wrong things themselves. Such media-persons may succumb to your pressure. However, the majority of media persons keep the interest of the Country at heart even today. They are not going to capitulate so easily. History is witness that whenever the judiciary, bureaucracy and legislature crumbled, it is the honest fourth pillar, comprising such media-persons that kept democracy alive.

You have invested in some media houses directly or indirectly. It is possible that these media houses do your bidding. However, the journalists working for such media houses will not barter their integrity so easily.

What is your dream? Do you want to become the world’s richest person through dishonesty? Suppose you became the owner of all the wealth in this country. Would that make you happy? Happiness does not increase by accumulating more and more wealth. Happiness comes with sacrifice. If you stopped doing business dishonestly and contributed your wealth for the development of the nation, this country will remember you with pride forever.

With regards,

Arvind Kejriwal

Scared or not, the news channels have certainly chosen the Zen path of silence and decided that their verbosity and bombast is best left on-screen.

Contact-Aastha1

 

Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/6338935891/]

 

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  • Vikramjeet Kapoor

    Media has become a threat to India, they didn’t broke the story that
    Reliance has served them a legal notice. Media has boycotted Kejriwal
    and AAP related news coverage, this means even media supports in
    shutting people’s voices against corruption. After all Ambani pays media
    channels for advertisments and also has direct stake in NDTV and
    Network 18 (CNN IBN – IBN7). People have lost faith in Media, NBA New
    Delhi could have tackled the legal notice with a protest but the chose
    to remain silent!

    This is a conspiracy keeping upcoming elections in mind, Ambai + Cong + BJP + Media – None of them want Kejriwal and AAP in power as all their corrupt practices will be curbed. You have to understand this game :)

    • inder

      absolutely right

    • NAYAK Harish

      AAP has to focus first Delhi in its election Radar. Then Municipality of Delhi. That should be their Lab for next step.

    • s

      Freedom of Speech Now only in Social Media

  • bhoopendra

    i hope newslaundry will take up this issue………..waiting for your response…….

  • shailigala

    उसूलो पे आंच जो आये तो टकराना जरुरी है.
    जो जिन्दा है तो फिर जिन्दा नजर आना जरुरी है.

  • ankit

    Great…At least someone has the courage to write…I wish journalist will fight back on this

  • Debendra

    Thanks Newslaundry. The incident has only confirmed our worst suspicion that our mainstream media is hands-in-glove with the rich and powerful and has no spine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vikashkronline Vikash Kumar

    Thanks News Laundry :)

  • Anubhav Verma

    Hope the alleged bugger goes to jail….
    I remember it was Madhu Trehan who posed this question to every media person – ‘Would you go against the Ambanis’? Today, many have gone against him.. Kudos Madhu!

  • H. J.

    Would you like to judge about Ambani’s Fame & Wealth, just watch picture ‘Guru’. you will understand all hidden realities.

    • RAJNEESH PUSHKER

      us main real matter chippa liya hai nahi to ambani publish hi nahi hone deta

  • Bharat Dangi

    Newslaundry bring these corrupt media people in front of your cameras and ask them why they talk about accountability on their channels ? Why NDTV says ‘Sach Dikhate hai hum’. Only uneducated people can trust them now.

    • inder

      Sahee kaha, sale add tu dikahte hain “sach dikhate hain hum” aur karte hain gulami in paisewalon ki!

  • http://keralafarmeronline.com/ S. Chandrasekharan Nair

    Money power rules us with the support of courts on common man. Common man can’t (here in this issue Media) face court procedures with heavy expenses. We know the expenses for supreme court through Media.

  • indian

    Great. Some journo has the courage to publish the truthm RESPECT!

  • Venkatesh

    Arvind and Prashant just keep getting better and better: good on them!

  • Raja

    Really appreciate the guts to publish the story. Hats of to Newslaundry and Aastha! This kind of journalism deserves all our support. After Radia tapes incident its clear that most big media houses are severely compromised (the govt and corporates are holding them with their ba**s) to take a principled stand against them. It is like asking them to commit suicide

  • Rajendra

    Ambani pe BJP, Kangress aur media sub silent ho jate hai !

  • http://twitter.com/pluday pluday

    Shocking & appalling ! But what is new in this, his father made it big thru such and worse acts ?

  • harrjit

    One person control a Indian media wow corrupt ambani

  • harrjit

    Thanks news laundary

  • sourabh

    Reliance Group has an indirect shareholding in Network18, CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat

  • Shakti Sharma

    It seems only Arvind is the man in this country who has guts to fight and deal with all evils in our nations.. God bless him..

  • jana gana mana

    The lawsuit is quite funny – it lists what Mukesh Ambani has been awarded just to prove he is a honored man? (common dude!) No real leader or honored man, lists his achievements (My client… this award, that award, this degree, that degree….and all that blah! Who cares to know the achievements if you are alleged of being a thief?).

    What is now on display is the ‘brave’ ‘idealistic’ Indian news media wagging its tail – it’s not a watch dog, but a cute little pet dog of Mr. Ambani – maybe a pug – and all the so-called idealistic journalists are “dog walkers” of this pug – good! carry on! let this pug piss on your lap, and deep within – on your conscience.

    This story might never make it to the headline – nevermind – but we, the discerning lot of India, are watching. Your (media and Mr. Ambani’s!) hypocrisy is caught. Live with it forever.

    • inder

      well said

  • Troll007

    Accountability is the foundation of “positive politics” that Rahul Gandhi spoke about. Without Vadra, Gadkari & Ambanis being held accountable, positive politics will eventually crash & burn.

  • AMIT KHEDKAR

    YES ARVIND KEJRIWAL HAS GREAT COURAGE AND FRAUD PEOPLE LIKE MUKESH AMBANI ARE ANTINATIONAL PERSONS LOOTING OUR COUNTRY..

    • http://twitter.com/TechBhurji Sunil

      What about economic growth contributed by Reliance Industries?

  • http://twitter.com/pr0xy28 pr0xy28

    First Fortune 500 private sector company from India: $66.8 Billion

    Ranking 130th in terms of profit in the Fortune 500 list: $3.9 Billion

    Building the most expensive home in the world, on a land meant for orphans, in a country with 320 million people below poverty line: $1 Billion

    Making most of the media look the other way: $700 million

    Evading taxes to bribe the Government: $20 million+

    Demanding respect through a defamation notice: $1000

    Richest man in the country commanding respect of his own countrymen: Priceless

    There are something’s which money can’t buy for everything else there is Mukesh’s MasterCard

    • Pankaj Jethi

      Great writing….well said and done.

  • Parth Veerendra

    HATS OFF to newslaundry 4 bringing ds story to commonman’s attention.nd SALUTE to Arvind Kejriwal for evrythin dt he has already done nd is doing 4 d cntry.We as a common citizen of d cntry r with u Arvind Sir with all resources at our command.

  • Pankaj Jethi

    ‘Ambani bros the business leaders’ this phrase in itself is a disrespect to the whole business community. They r not businessmen they r just petty crooks. Goi shud nationalize his kg basin bcoz he is doing his dirty tricks there also. But this is simply not expected from this govt. god forbid if upa comes to power again u will see his gas will b priced much more than 14 dollars he is demanding now. And his well will start producing gas at much better rate, this miracle will happen after 2014 elections .trust me !

  • Dekhta hoon

    good article…the future of news is on the internet. Great article. Why is the bravado guy of news not asking questions on his channel which the NATION WANTS TO KNOW. Is he also afraid to take on Reliance.

  • RAJNEESH PUSHKER

    THANKS A LOT AT LEAST YOU HAVE COURAGE TO GIVE COVERAGE TO THIS MATTER

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mysterious.Intellect Shyam Sunder Reddy

    Its true that inflation can be easily traced backed to the KGBasin gas. AAP should consider filing a PIL on all misdeeds by this corporate group.

  • अशोक उपाध्याय

    टी वी चैनल का लोकतंत्र एक दिखावा है . एक दुकान है . जो यह नहीं बता सकता उसे नोटिस मिला या नहीं ? उस की क्या औकात और क्या सवतंत्रता .

  • Indian

    This is another bitter example of Indian democracy, I will not wonder if any survey will put us in list of democratic freedom comparable to Pakistan. This is all what we achieved in 60+ years of freedom. Richie goes rich and poor bound to die of starving.

  • faysal96

    Do you want to be a Richest
    Man In India
    ?
    He had more hardwork in his past life. If anyone want to be rich like so high position, you must
    have to do hardwork and good planing to reach your goal. No man can do earn his
    goal without struggling.so, hardwork equal struggle and struggle equal rich.

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  • Amit Jain

    Aam Aadmi Party fights with how many ???first it was government, then the entire political class of the country, and now even media!. Here everybody is corrupt & then also you can find people raising question against Arvind Kejriwal & Aam Adami Party !!!!!