At no.2—ahead of even the Tatas and ITC—with a total donation of Rs 12.5 crore (Rs 10 crore for the BJP and Rs 2.5 crore for the Congress) is Asianet TV holdings, of the mobile phone operator turned media baron Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Chandrasekhar, an independent member of the Rajya Sabha elected with BJP support, owns the Asianet News channel in Kerala and the Suvarna News channel in Karnataka, and recently bought the Kannada Prabha newspaper from the New Indian Express group.
Chandrasekhar who also owned several general entertainment channels in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu entered into a joint venture with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
A Reuters backgrounder contains this operative paragraph:
“Asianet Communications Limited, which is a joint venture with Asianet TV Holdings Private Limited, was formed to provide television services for South Indian audiences. The joint venture consists of the Company’s (News Corp’s) approximate 81% interest in the Tamil language channel Vijay and the Company’s (News Corp’s) approximate 75% interest in the Malayalam language channels Asianet and Asianet Plus, the Kannada language channel Suvarna and the Telugu language channel Sitara.”
An ADR analysis (page 8 of 28) pegs Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s total assets at Rs 37 crore—Rs 12 crore in movable assets and Rs 25 crore in immovable assets.