March 4, 2014
Responding to The Indian Express report ‘AAP sting politics: To target Yogendra Yadav, critics in party play tape of call with journalist‘ (March 3, 2015), AAP leader Yogendra Yadav has posted online the following: Indian Express story raises vital questions regarding ethics of public life, but sadly in a one sided manner. It rightly questions the practice of clandestine recording of a journalist’s call. It is also justified in questioning the dubious practice of making such recording public, and that too to settle intra-party squabbles.
But I fail to understand why Indian Express shied away from questioning the unethical behaviour of the concerned journalist herself. Why did she report on a breakfast conversation that was clearly understood to be not for reporting? Why did she reveal her sources to an interested party? And worst of all, why did she drag me, who had never given her any such information? It is particularly sad, because Indian Express had evidence in their hand that proved the complicity of their colleague. They had email testimonies from two other journalists present in that breakfast meeting. They are on record saying that the sensitive information about Haryana disclosed in the article was never discussed at the breakfast meeting. Why did Express choose to suppress this part of the story?
Since, I’m at the receiving end of both these unethical practices, may I hope that those who raise larger ethical questions will not be selective in their moral judgement.
The Indian Express replies:
The “email testimonies” from two journalists Yogendra Yadav refers to were, in fact, sent to this newspaper on the night of March 2 by Rajeev Godara, an advocate who is the AAP spokesperson for Haryana. This came after Yadav told the newspaper that the emails were on their way. The Indian Express carefully scrutinised the emails in which the two journalists condemned the AAP for recording a phone conversation with a journalist without her knowledge. Nowhere do these emails say that “sensitive information about Haryana”, as Yadav puts it, was not discussed at the meeting. One of them only says he wished Yadav had actually given them “some juicy tidbits”.
Chander Suta Dogra, reporter for The Hindu (now with The Indian Express) whose conversation was recorded by AAP without her knowledge, adds:
Yogendra Yadav has raised three questions concerning me.
One, why did I report on “a breakfast conversation that was clearly understood to be not for reporting”? I was invited, along with four other journalists, to meet Yogendra Yadav over breakfast at the Chandigarh home of an AAP office-bearer. Since Yadav was the chief spokesperson of the AAP, I decided to attend the meeting. As a reporter who had been covering politics for many years, I realised this meeting was not an invitation to a casual chat over breakfast. This meeting took place on August 15, 2014. I did not file any news report regarding the meeting, storing the conversation as an input for a larger report on developments within the AAP. Thereafter, I interviewed several AAP workers before writing an Op-Ed article for The Hindu which appeared on August 29, 2014 – a full two weekslater.
Two, Yadav wants to know why did I reveal my “sources to an interested party”. Considering that nine people were present at the breakfast meeting, there was no element of confidentiality. Since he was the chief spokesperson of AAP, one assumed that the party was aware of the breakfast meeting. As a responsible reporter, I am fully aware of the sanctity of a relationship between a reporter and a source.
Three, I never “dragged” Yadav into this. His name was dragged by his own party colleagues who recorded my phone conversation without my knowledge and then made it public.
Responding to the report ‘L-G reinstates historian 10 years after action on charges of sexual harassment’ published on December 6, Prof Makhan Lal has written:
# Allegations against me were inquired by five committees, three of whom exonerated me of all charges; the other two merely said the matter may be further looked into.
# In its interim order dated 8.4.2004 Hon’ble High Court of Delhi said I cannot be made to face inquiries after inquiries, and allowed me to return to my duties.
# The then Hon’ble Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna passed orders on 06.01.2010 that all disciplinary proceedings against me were illegal and reinstated me on my post. On 22.4.2010 another order was passed by Shri Khanna, reiterating that his orders of 06.01.2010 should be implemented.
# Rather than acting on the orders of the Lt Governor, Mrs Sheila Dikshit’s government went ahead with my persecution and harassment. The orders of present Lt Governor, Najib Jung, simply quashes the illegal actions of the Dikshit government, and orders the implementation of the orders of his predecessor.
Our correspondent replies: The report did not say that the inquiry committees found the charges against Prof Lal to be true. It merely said that he was suspended after these allegations, and later removed. The fact is the National Commission for Women did say that “Prof Lal be shifted away from this institution.” The report was only on the disciplinary action against him, and was based entirely on facts. Prof Lal’s comments were included in the report.
With reference to a report in The Indian Express titled ‘Pondicherry V-C has a problem: CV has a suspect book, two that can’t be traced’ (November 22), Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry University Chandra Krishnamurthy says:
On 21st November 2014 evening, I got a call from Mr Arun Janardhanan, who asked me about my two books. I explained him true facts… Also a mail was sent to him the same evening by advocate Ashraf Ahmed Shaikh, who also spoke to him at length and explained all the queries… The same was not considered…
…He has damaged my reputation and tarnished my image… by writing such false news without verifying the proper and actual records from the official sources of government…
It is not true that I am guilty of any plagiarism in my book ‘Legal Education in India’. I have acknowledged the source at the appropriate places. The reporter has also reported that my second book, ‘Human Rights for Vulnerable Group Series-I, Children’, was never published. However it was made clear to him, in writing, that it was published in 2009 and ISBN number was also given to him.
…In the said article it is mentioned that the President of India is the chancellor of all central universities. The Hon’ble President of India is the visitor of central universities and not the chancellor. In the case of our university, the chancellor is the the Hon’ble Vice-President of India…
With respect to other publications including articles, I would like to inform you that all are in order and were published and presented in conferences, seminars and reputed journals.
The Indian Express replies:
The report was based on interviews with publishers, original authors and experts in anti-plagiarism probes for the government of India concerned. The reporter also contacted the V-C and her comments were included.
We stand by the report that Krishnamurthy plagiarised five out eight chapters in her book ‘Legal Education in India’. While she claims that she acknowledged the sources at appropriate places, the source and the names of most of the original authors and their respective titles were not mentioned anywhere in the book and credits.
When she mentioned the names of the five original authors in the courtesy column, it was without proper citation and without mentioning the titles of the authors.
While the Vice-Chancellor claims she has published 25 articles, none of them says where and when these were published. None of them except one could be traced. And even the one that could be was found 72% plagiarised.
Krishnamurthy’s claim of having published a second book, ‘Human Rights for Vulnerable Group Series – I, Children’, is denied by K N Pandey, one of the directors of Himalaya Publishing House. It’s true that the president is the visitor and not the chancellor of the university. That fact was inadvertently omitted.
Responding to a report, ‘Trilokpuri riots: Police were violent with Muslim women’ (November 9), the Delhi Police has said that the headline and contents of the news item were “misleading and far removed from the truth”.
“The report states that male police officers had used force against Muslim women. Fact is that a large contingent of women police force was deployed in the area, so the question of male police officers dealing with women did not arise… not a single case of crime against women, or even misbehaviour with women has been reported in Trilokpuri during the time the riots broke out or even after that,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.
The reporter replies: The report is based on a complaint filed before the Delhi Minorities Commission by the Social Democratic Party of India. The report only cited the contents of the complaint. The commission is seized of the complaint and is examining the contentions raised in it. The report also quotes the chairman of the commission saying that the commission did not have the police version in the case. This too has been stated in the report. The Indian Express, on its part, also contacted the Delhi Police for its reaction to the allegations made in the complaint. The report included a quote from a senior police official who, speaking on the condition of anonymity, denied the allegations.
The report ‘Surya Prakash appointed Prasar Bharti chairman‘ described Prakash as a Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, the New Delhi think tank from where ‘National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Principal Secretary (to the PM) Nripendra Misra and Additional Principal Secretary (in the PMO) PK Mishra were all handpicked”. This is incorrect. P K Mishra, a former IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre and former Agriculture Secretary, was never associated with the VIF.
The error is deeply regretted.
The article ‘Modi, moment, constitution’ by Salman Khurshid on the Edit Page referred to “the famous Hindutva judgment of Justice A.N. Varma”. The judgment was delivered by the late Chief Justice J S Verma.
The report ‘Rift in Apna Dal widens’ used the word “overlooking” when it meant ‘overseeing’.
The report ‘NSA Doval may visit Burdwan blast site today…’ referred to the “hands of a Bangladeshi terror group” instead of ‘the hand of’.
The ‘Explained’ on ‘The rise and fall of Artha Tatwa’ used the figure of speech “promised the moon”, but without the ‘the’.
The errors are regretted