( To be read in continuation of my article of November 26,2010, titled "Our Own MeCarthyism" available at http://ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/11/our-own-mccarthyism.html )
While Shri Arnab Goswami, the highly-reputed Editor of the Times Now news channel, who often projects a sense of modesty about himself with expressions like "your channel", "your editor" etc, continues to wax eloquent over various issues bothering him which he feels ought to bother the public too, there is one development over which he does not wax eloquent, which does not seem to bother him and which he does not want the public to bother about.
2. The issue I am referring to is a document purporting to be the interrogation report of Ms. Niira Radia, the lobbyist, allegedly recorded by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that has been circulating in the Internet for the last three or four days. Presuming that this report is authentic, I have carefully gone through its Internet version, which is available at http://daily.bhaskar.com/pdf/radia.pdf
3. The report is in two parts. The first part, recorded on 21-12-10, is about the personal and professional background of Ms.Radia as ascertained during her interrogation. The second part recorded on 25-1-11, relates to certain tapes which the CBI has apparently identified as of an incriminating nature having relevance to the scam case against Shri A.Raja, former Telecommunications Minister, under investigation by it.
4 What the CBI’s investigating officer seems to have done is to play these incriminating tapes one after the other to Ms.Radia and ask her to identify the persons talking with her in the tapes and summarise the conversations. Amongst the persons whose tapped telephone conversations with Ms.Radia were thus played back to her for establishing their authenticity through her words were the following journalists:
• Ms.Navika Kumar, described as the Senior Political Editor of the Times Now Channel.
• Shri T.K.Thomas of the “Hindu Businessline”
• Shri Satish Ohri, described as the Editor of a magazine called “Business At Zero Hour” and
• Shri Ganapati Subramanyam Ganu of ET and ET Now channel.
5. The conversation between Ms.Navika Kumar and Ms.Radia relates to the alleged links of Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Agriculture Minister, with DB Realities, one of the companies reportedly under investigation by the CBI. The interrogation report quotes Ms. Radia as stating as follows while explaining her conversation with Ms.Navika Kumar: “As per general perceptions in Mumbai as well as outside, DB Realities directly or indirectly controlled by Sharad Pawar and his family members.”
6.The following questions arise from a study of this portion of the interrogation report of Ms.Radia recorded by the CBI:
• Since when was Ms.Kumar in contact with Ms.Radia?
• When did the telephone conversation described in the interrogation report take place?
• Who initiated the telephone call discussed in the interrogation report---Ms.Radia or Ms.Kumar?
• Who broached the subject of the alleged links of Shri Sharad Pawar and his family with DB Realities?
• Since Ms.Kumar was in possession of this explosive information, did she use it in her reporting? If not, why not?
• Did she convey this information to Shri Goswami? If so, what further action did he take on it?
• How come none of the incriminating tapes, which had a relevance to the 2 G scam, were not among those publicized by the two leading journals of Delhi which went to town with the Radia tapes?
7. The public has a right to know the answers to these questions. If Shri Goswami and Times Now continue to maintain their silence and avoid answers to these specific questions, a strong suspicion is likely to be created that there is more than meets the eye behind the intriguing silence. (21-4-11)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )