Posts Tagged ‘Ankur Chawla’

Should Prabhu Chawla edit New Indian Express?

14 December 2010

Editors, anchors, columnists, correspondents… tens of media personnel have been badly mauled in the eyes of news consumers, in the Niira Radia scandal.

But do the proprietors and managers really care?

Vir Sanghvi has suspended his weekly column in the Hindustan Times while merrily writing on food. The buck still stops at Barkha Dutt‘s table at 10 pm on NDTV while she fights a lonely battle from the trenches of Twitter.

Now, Manoj Kumar Sonthalia, grandson of the mighty Ramnath Goenka who is in charge of the southern editions of the paper, has reportedly decided to hire former India Today editor Prabhu Chawla, as the new editor of  The New Indian Express (TNIE), despite the thick smog of scandal hanging over the latter’s underprotected head.

Chawla, who got a most perplexing certificate of merit from The Hindu‘s editor-in-chief N. Ram, on the India Today-owned TV station Headlines Today, however, has had a slightly inauspicious entry. The outgoing TNIE team of Aditya Sinha has carried this brief excerpt involving Chawla from the second tranche of the Radia tapes.

Listen: Prabhu Chawla in conversation with Niira Radia

Also read: Prabhu Chawla‘s son named in media bribery case

“Accused” Ankur Chawla is now “investigator” Chawla

In the New Indian Express, old hands get the sack

“Accused” Chawla is now “Investigator” Chawla

3 December 2009

Ankur Chawla, the son of India Today editor Prabhu Chawla*, who was named in a bribery case concerning the Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala 10 days ago, has had a “status update”.

Chawla junior, a Supreme Court advocate, has now been inducted into the CBI team probing the bribery case involving the acting head of the company law board (CLB).

In other words, the accused has turned approver, with a difference—he will now probe the very case he was a part of.

Chawla had been named as a “middleman” in the CBI first information report (FIR) after the CLB chief R. Vasudevan was caught on the night of November 23 while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 7 lakh from Manoj Banthia, a company secretary of Amar Ujala, to settle a dispute in the family running the regional daily.

Ankur Chawla feigned innocence claiming he was “out of the country” but his house in New Delhi’s Defence Colony was raided and a file relating to the case was recovered “establishing his links with the case“.

Chawla’s name was also missing from the CBI press release.

The Hindu reported that CBI had registered a case against Vasudevan, Banthia and Ankur Chawla under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 (public servant taking bribe other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act), 8 (taking bribe, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant) and other sections of the prevention of corruption Act.

Although The Times of India reports that Banthia “has all along maintained that it was Ankur Chawla who had allegedly handed over the cash to him asking him to further hand it over to Vasudevan,” a Delhi court was told a different story on November 30.

# “It is submitted that accused Ankur Chawla (the lawyer) joined investigation today,” additional sessions judge O.P. Saini noted, while entertaining a petition seeking policy remand of another accused Manoj Banthia for one more day, reports The Times of India.

# Press Trust of India reports that CBI wanted to quiz Ankur Chawla with the statements made by Banthia during his custodial interrogation but the judge allowed CBI to interrogate Banthia for one more day on the ground that Ankur Chawla had “joined the probe“.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Prabhu Chawla‘s son named in bribery case

Prabhu Chawla’s son named in media bribery case

25 November 2009

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named advocate Ankur Chawla, son of Prabhu Chawla, editor of the leading English newsweekly India Today*, for allegedly acting as a conduit to pay a bribe to a quasi-judicial official for “a favourable verdict in a case concerning a media house”.

The Hindustan Times reports that junior Chawla represented one of the two feuding factions of the Hindi daily newspaper Amar Ujala, and had arranged for Rs 10 lakh to be delivered to the acting chairman of the company law board (CLB), R. Vasudevan, who has been arrested for taking the bribe.

The Times of India, quoting CBI sources, says Ankur Chawla had approached Manoj Banthia, a secretary with the Ujala management, with Rs 10 lakh to get the case settled in favour of the daily’s management. “Banthia kept Rs 3 lakh. Chawla’s name is also in the FIR.”

According to Press Trust of India, Banthia was nabbed while he was emerging from Vasudevan’s house in South Delhi after allegedly paying the bribe. A further sum of Rs 55 lakh was also recovered from the residence of the 58-year-old officer.

The Economic Times quotes a CBI spokesman as saying it was “a double-trap”, in which the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker were arrested.

Atul Maheshwari, managing director of the Amar Ujala group, has clarified he had no connection with the case, but Chawla’s house in upscale Defence Colony was raided and a file relating to the case was recovered “establishing his links with the case“.

Indo Asian News Service reports that Chawla, who was reportedly out of India for two days, has professed ignorance about the bribery but has said he will co-operate with investigators.

However, Financial Chronicle reports that Ankur Chawla was among the three arrested along with Vasudevan and Banthia. But the official CBI press release makes no mention of a third arrest, much less the name or pedigree of Chawla.

The Hindu reports that CBI has registered a case against Vasudevan, Banthia and Ankur Chawla under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 7 (public servant taking bribe other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act), 8 (taking bribe, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant) and other sections of the prevention of corruption Act.

To its credit, Mail Today, the tabloid newspaper owned by the India Today group for which Prabhu Chawla writes a weekly Monday column, gave the most space to the story among all Delhi dailies without, however, revealing the link.

It quoted the CBI spokesman as saying “an advocate acted as the conduit for giving this bribe,” and that “raids at the advocate’s house revealed documents belonging to multiple offices of the media house.”

Read the CBI press release here

* Disclosures apply

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