Posts Tagged ‘Financial Chronicle’

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

Allen J. Mendonca: Here’s looking at you, kid

29 September 2009

allensandhya

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY writes from Bangalore: Allen Mendonca slunk away in sleep, gently tip-toeing into the darkness never to return.

This time, his flamboyance was missing.

The swagger was not there.

There were none of the histrionics either.

49 is no age to exit out. Yet, he chose to do it his way. He never did believe in giving tortuous explanations to people.

The inexplicable emotions of the heart ruled over his mind most of the time. The unmistakable lilt in his voice and freewheeling gait was proof.

Anyway, he probably had his reasons to leave early.

***

For me, Allen was a friend and a supporter. For a million others, perhaps a hundred million, Allen was a friend and a supporter. His friends, like the stories he sourced, were diverse.

They included a broad swath of shallow socialites, dodgy journalists and plain beer-swilling louts. He bear-hugged  them all unmindful of their forked-tongues and crooked agenda.

Allen chose not to differentiate, not to be judgemental of people and that was his true strength, and perhaps his failing too. He practiced his vocation with the same sense of   ‘openness’ – writing on every conceivable subject with a freshness in perspective and prose.

On a good day, Allen’s writing was a piece of poetry.

On an ‘exceptionally good day’  it was deliciously defamatory. Bureaucrats and businessmen got slammed on their pompous backsides.

While some called it whimsical writing others swore by it and religiously began their day with Allen’s byline.

Everybody read it. Everybody spoke about it. And Allen, like the true showman,  loved the adulation, the applause.

On one occasion, he wrote a controversial piece on Vijay Mallya, and was forced to tender a written apology. I remember calling him that morning, expressing my disgust and railing against the world at large. Confronted by my shrill journalistic fervor, misplaced perhaps (?),  early in the morning, he merely  guffawed.

In 2002, as the visiting faculty of a journalism school, I had invited Allen, then Times of India’s metro chief, to share his experiences with the students.  Despite a late night, he was there at the Times’ office at the crack of dawn to ride in my bumpy car to the school that was located on the outskirts.

Needless to say, he won the kids over with his disarming charm and simple home-truths.

No profundities, no lofty ideological bluster, the challenges a reporter confronts are real.

The fun-part was after the interaction, when I drove the affectionate father to meet his son Aditya at the BGS International School nearby.

Much earlier, when I began my career with the Frontline magazine, Allen’s Christmas party was a turning-point for me. M.D. Riti, who had just quit The Week magazine, suggested that I apply for the position and pursue the opportunity. Allen and his wife Sandhya prodded me on to embark on this new adventure.

There are innumerable memories associated with Allen and recounting them all would be impossible. More recently, during his recent stint as editor of a city-based magazine, I would often run into him at Koshy’s.

The friendly wink and handshake remained unchanged, thankfully.

***

The last time I met him was on September 16 at friend Jessie Paul’s  book-launch. Sandhya did the author’s introduction.

Even as Sujit John of the Times, Darlington Jose Hector of Financial Chronicle, Benedict Parmanand of Rishabh Media Network and I bantered around in a group, Allen accompanied by a lanky Aditya made a quick entry,  shook hands with us and vamoosed.

He seemed in an obvious hurry that evening and we couldn’t spend much time.

A few days later, on the night of September  27, I called Madras-based journalist and friend Daniel P. George on his cell phone for a general catch-up session. Danny yelled over the din of a rambunctious party and told me that he was at the Leela Palace in Bangalore with Allen and his family.

I said, “have fun” and disconnected.

That night Allen, the friend, the supporter, went to sleep.

Photograph: courtesy Chandana Vasistha Aiyar via Facebook

Also read: Allen J. Mendonca, rest in peace

How come media did not spot Satyam fraud?

8 January 2009

A requiem for Indian business journalism, in the delightfully breathless style of Juan Antonio Giner, founder-director, Innovation International Media:

‘Satyam’, meaning truth.

India’s fourth largest software services provider. The darling of Hyderabad.

An outsourcing company with 53,000 employees that serviced 185 of the Fortune 500 companies in 66 countries.

A company which now says 50.4 billion rupees of the 53.6 billion rupees in cash and bank loans that it listed in assets for its second quarter, which ended in September, were nonexistent.

India’s biggest corporate fraud ever.

Hell, India’s biggest fraud ever: customers, clients, shareholders, employees, families down in the dumps.

India’s Enron.

We have heard all the big questions being asked. So far.

How come the analysts did not know?

How come the auditors did not know?

How come the regulators did not know?

How come the directors did not know?

How come the bankers did not know?

Yes. But where is the other question?

How come the media did not know?

Yes.

How come the English newspapers did not know?

# Not Deccan Chronicle, not The Hindu, not The New Indian Express, not The Times of India.

# Not The Economic Times, not Business Line, not Financial Chronicle, not Business Standard, not Financial Express.

How come the foreign newspapers did not know?

# Not New York Times, not Wall Street Journal, not Financial Times.

How come the Telugu dailies did not know?

# Not Eenadu, not Andhra Jyoti, not Andhra Prabha, not Saakshi.

How come the general interest magazines did not know?

# Not India Today, not Outlook, not The Week.

How come the business magazines did not know?

# Not Business Today, not Business World, not Outlook Business.

How come the English news channels did not know?

# Not NDTV, not CNN-IBN, not Times Now, not Doordarshan News.

How come the business channels did not know?

# Not CNBC, not NDTV Profit, not UTVi.

How come the Telugu channels did not know?

# Not ETV, not Maa TV, not TV9, not TV5, not Doordarshan

So many media vehicles, but so little light on the infotech highway yet so much noise.

But who is asking the questions?

Is journalism that doesn’t shed light journalism?

Or puff?

Or PR?

Or Advertising?

Also read: Is this what they really teach at Harvard Business School?

Is Satyam alone in creative accounting scam?

New Year card Ramalinga Raju did not respond to

Forget invitation price, try a new paper for free!

26 May 2008

Bangalore has got its latest morning English broadsheet. Deccan Chronicle has been launched along with its sister-paper, Financial Chronicle.

While groups like The Times of India time their launch to coincide with major festivals, DC has chosen the dawn of a new political dawn. And while most groups now go in with an invitation price to shake up the competition, DC is being offered free of cost.

Editor A.T. Jayanti has this introduction:

Very good morning, Bengaluru

What Bengaluru does today, the country does tomorrow. From art, literature, theatre and cinema to the information technology revolution and its unique zest for life, Bengaluru has shown the way. This is the city of ideas, the meeting place of the bright and the boldest.

Monday’s election results is the latest example. The people’s voice is what we at DC will reflect. We come without an axe to grind agaianst anything except the lazy, the corrupt and the clueless. We come to celebrate the spirit of Bengaluru.

It is a tribute to the people of Bengaluru that the blistering pace of change has not diluted its deep traditional and cultural flavour. But the academic and cerebral Bengaluru certainly knows how to unwind and have fun. We believe DC is reflective of Bengaluru. We broke The Hindu‘s strangle hold over Chennai, and others are only now following us into that metro. That success has not come easily. We have developed a mix of news, special reports and features neatly packaged into different sections with you in mind. Our combination of the all-colour broadsheet and tabloid reflects the varied reading habits of our readers across all ages and thinking.

DC comes to Bengaluru with its sister publication, Financial Chronicle. Steered by the best minds in the world of industry, commerce and information technology, FC will translate the news into three simple steps: Buy, sell, spend. We are offering DC free for all readers for a few days from today for this welcoming city to sample our magic mix.

We will push hard to be No.1.

Just like Bengaluru, India’s leader.

Also read: Neena Gopal to edit Deccan Chronicle, Bangalore

‘Buy-sell-spend-save. Live rich. Enjoy.’

All the business news that’s fit to be printed

24 May 2008

Existing business papers are launching Hindi editions (Economic Times, Business Standard). Existing English dailies are launching business papers (Finance Chronicle from Deccan Chronicle). Hindi dailies are launching English papers (DNA from Dainik Bhaskar). New papers are selling their business sections as separate papers (DNA Money). Hindi dailies are planning Hindi business dailies (Dainik Jagran with Network 18). Foreign groups are planning Indian editions (Financial Times from Pearson, Forbes, Fortune).

It’s all happening in India. Reasons: the economic boom, growing literacy, a burgeoning market.

“The overall globalization, the growing interest in India, and the sheer size of the India market is driving the foreign media interest in India. This is no different from players from any other industry. What all the global publications are probably looking for is to get an increasing mind share of the large Indian middle class, which is becoming [more and more] global,” Ravi Bapna, a professor and executive director of the Centre for Information Technology and the Networked Economy at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, tells Knowledge@Wharton.

Read the full story: Where Print still makes sense

‘Buy-sell-save-spend. Live rich. Enjoy.’

17 April 2008

The monsoon is still a couple of months away but it’s raining newspapers in southern India.

Last Friday, the new New Indian Express hit the stands. On Monday, The Times of India launched in Madras. And on Wednesday, Financial Chronicle, the business daily from the Deccan Chronicle group, arrived in Hyderabad and Madras.

In photograph is the cover page of the second day’s e-paper (registration required).

Editor Shubhrangshu Roy writes:

“So why are we here? Because the market demands us, in clean and credible white, untainted by agendas, to tell the story of India’s growing prosperity the way it ought to be told. We are here to break free from the clutter and jargon that have become the hallmark of business reporting. We are here to tell you in simple words what business is all about and in the way all of us want to know it. For business, as we understand it, is all about an uncomplicated six-letter word: dhanda or transaction. Which is why our brand of journalism is founded on the bedrock of four simple words—buy-sell-save-spend—imprinted at top left of this page.

“We are here to reflect and build on the aspirations of NewGen India.

“We are here to Live Rich! So, enjoy.”

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