Cobrapost: Unrewarding Journalism [with The Stalkers video]

Aniruddha Bahal, the top sting operation investigative journalist of India

Update: Since this post was written, Cobrapost have done several more stings exposing deep rooted wrongs in India. From social media services for political parties to spread disinformation, slander or rig elections, to confessions of brutal murders of dalits who have been getting acquited in case after case. Today Cobrapost has exposed the “Love jihad” – a Hindutva conspiracy to intimidate couples where a Hindu girl marries a boy of another religion with shocking confessions ranging from kidnapping and assault to intimidation, threats against family, false charges of rape and even the drugging of Hindu girls.

Cobrapost and Gulail have come up with a devastating video sting of Amit Shah’s misuse of state machinery on the orders of Narendra Modi in surveilling a woman for a month. The sting covers almost an hour and includes over half an hour of taped phone conversations that show the extent of surveillance. (separate post on the sting will follow). Here is the video:

The article that follows, I had written after Operation Red Spider, also by Cobrapost.

Aniruddha Bahal and Cobrapost have come up with a devastating video sting – Operation Red Spider, in which they have exposed money laundering facilities offered by top banks HDFC, ICICI and Axis. The clear implication is a nationwide moneylaundering scam. The shocking expose was done with the help of one editor Syed Masroor Hasan and was simple. Syed walked into various branches of these banks saying he was acting on behalf of a politician who had a lot of black money he needed laundered. What followed is history. Bank officials not only readily agreed to it, they provided various strategies like bonds, deposits and gold in gross violations of the Income Tax Act, FEMA. As I write, news comes in that RBI is going to investigate the banks exposed by Operation Red Spider.

Aniruddha Bahal and his have been doing spectacular video stings consistently. Some of their earlier work includes:

2011 Cobrapost had done the Bollywood Black Money video stings in partnership with CNN where top Bollywood producers and directors revealed on camera how black money funds their films and how they launder it for their investors.

2007 – Operation Guru Dakshina exposed illegal dealings in school admissions.

2006 – Haj Applications Scam exposed how Mumtaz Ahmed blatantly agreed to rig the lottery system for selecting Haj applications for a price.

2005 Operation Duryodhana captured on camera 11 MPs accepting money to table questions on the floor of the Parliament (10 – Lok Sabha, 1 – Rajya Sabha) – 7 BJP, 2 BSP, 1 INC, 1 RJD. The members were all expelled:

  • Narendra Kushwaha (BSP) – Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh: Rs 55,000
  • Annasaheb M. K. Patil (BJP) – Erandol, Maharashtra: Rs 45,000
  • Chhatrapal Singh Lodha (BJP) – Odisha (Rajya Sabha) : Rs 15,000
  • Y. G. Mahajan (BJP) – Jalgaon, Maharashtra: Rs 35,000
  • Manoj Kumar (Rashtriya Janata Dal) – Palamau, Jharkand: Rs 110,000
  • Suresh Chandel (BJP) – Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh: Rs 30,000
  • Raja Ram Pal (BSP) – Bilhaur, Uttar Pradesh : Rs 35,000
  • Lal Chandra Kol (BJP) – Robertsganj, Uttar Pradesh: Rs 35,000
  • Pradeep Gandhi (BJP) – Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh: Rs 55,000
  • Chandra Pratap Singh (BJP) – Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh : Rs 35,000
  • Ramsevak Singh (Congress) – Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh: Rs 50,000

2000 – Operation West End in collaboration with Matthew Samuels (in Tehelka) exposed irregularities in defense procurements and resulted in the resignation of the then BJP chief Bangaru Laxman, defence minister George Fernandes. This was followed by an mega witchhunt of Tehelka by the ruling BJP government which shut it down.

1997 – Match-fixing sting – he was the first journalist anywhere in the world to expose the shady world of match-fixing in an expose that rattled the cricket world. Remember the end of Azaruddin?

Imagine my astonishment when the sole award to his name on Wikipedia is one for Bad Sex In Literature. Not joking. Cobrapost doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia. And we wonder why corruption is so difficult to end in a world where controversial corporations sponsor journalism awards and political parties have understandings with corporate owned media?

I had written this post for another website earlier, but it doesn’t seem to have been published.

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