Who are the media houses / journalists that got their pound of flesh from #AgustaWestland deal?

Did media look the "other way" when The Indian Express came out with its revelations on #AgustaWestland deal?

Did the mainstream media look the other way over Agusta violations?
Did the mainstream media look the other way over Agusta violations?

Actions speak louder than words – We capture who (media) did what during 2012-13 when Agusta scam first broke out

For the past two weeks, everyone is curious to know who the beneficiaries of the AgustaWestland largesse are. Before we get to that, let us recap what we know thus far:

  • We have documented proof that Agusta Westland entered into an agreement worth 6 million Euros (₹45 crore) with fugitive middleman Christian Michel for 22 months (March 2010 to Dec 2011) to manage Indian media.

  • We also now know that from 2006 onwards manipulations and rigging happened in the purchasing procedure to favour Agusta. The media management contract was signed a month after the deal was signed in February 2010.

  • Did the mainstream media look the other way over Agusta violations, while the opponents of Agusta, Sikorsky and Eurocopter were complaining to Defence Ministry and providing their letters to the media?

The fact of the matter is that only two newspapers in India seriously and vehemently pursued the Agusta Chopper Scam. Those are ‘The Indian Express’ and ‘The Pioneer’. Indian Express (IE) reporter Manu Pubby deserves credit for breaking the scam in February 2012 and pursuing it with a series of reports. As an out and out Right Wing paper, ‘The Pioneer’ focused only on linking the scam with Sonia Gandhi, following the ‘Indian Express’ reports.

Times of India, Hindustan Times (Vir Sanghvi was controlling the newsroom), The Hindu, India Today, NDTV, CNN-IBN and Times Now wrote or broadcast nothing about this scam when IE was pursing it with vigour. Worse, CNN-IBN, in those days led by Rajdeep Sardesai, did some questionable reporting to give a clean chit to the deal, when Indian Express attacked it.

One interesting report in Times of India bears special mention. See the date of the report. It was published on July 30, 2009. How did Times of India’s reporter come to know 7 months in advance, that Defence Ministry is finalising the deal with Agusta? The deal was signed in Feb 2010 and Times of India was very sure of this deal in July 2009!

There some other people engaged in Defence reporting who reported on October 6, 2008, that Agusta Westland is selected! Trishul, which specializes in Defence sector, is a very reputed blog in arms dealing and other defence procurements. This Blog knew 16 months ahead of time that Agusta is getting the deal. Were these guys doing the ground work for Agusta by singing its praises?

There is more. Noted Defence journalist-cum-consultant Ajay Shukla interviewed S P Tyagi in Doordarshan in Feb 2013, in which Tyagi was given ample time to play the role of an innocent victim. Hindustan Times and its business publication Mint were totally committed to saving the skin of the UPA government in general and Sonia Gandhi in particular from Agusta Westland scam. During the period 2010 to 2013, most of the P R stories of Agusta Westland manufacturing company Finmeccanica appeared in Hindustan Times and Mint.

When the scam blew out of proportion after arrests were made in Italy in February 2013, Rajdeep Sardesai comes out with an interview with Julie (Sanjeev) Tyagi, a family member of the main suspect S P Tyagi, the former Air Chief Marshal. Those days in CNN-IBN, Rajdeep Sardesai was trying to provide clean chits by posing favourable questions to Julie Tyagi. Tyagi recently surfaced again in Rajdeep’s interviews in India Today TV. In October 2014, when the trial court acquitted Italian company officials, S P Tyagi landed in CNN-IBN and India Today to play the victim card. These two channels were going hard at Indian Express for their exposé on Agusta.

Indian express also did something that raised eyebrows. Along with Shekhar Gupta, Manu Pubby also exited IE in mid-2014. Indian Express showed sheer pettiness by not giving the Ramnath Goenka Award to Manu Pubby who was the most eligible candidate for his 2012 and 2013 series on #AgustaWestland scam. When the award for 2012 and 2013 was given in 2015, Manu Pubby was in The Economic Times. It looked as if IE denied him the Goenka Award, just because he was no longer a part of it. This smacks of injustice. After all, Indian Express benefited tremendously from this scam.

Christian Michel suddenly seems to have surfaced, especially to select media persons! His letters filled with hyperbole are appearing with regularity. How is he so accessible now, when his official status is a fugitive? Like the Bollywood movies of the 70s, will the police be the last to reach the crime spot? One hopes not!

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  1. In India the entire system created by Congress is compromised. We have seniorIAS, IPS, CBI, ED and also RAW officials who were appointed and planted by the erstwhile Congress after a careful appointment process which ensured that all these will remain loyal to the family and not to the country. Most of them also paid money to get these positions. The Coteries also includes staff and appointees from law, medical, and almost any other field where Government is involved. Remember Congress had 60 years to run the country. Remember that in Bofor cases, the entire CBI and other items which went to Europe never met anyone or collected any evidence. They just went around enjoying the trip and returned back to India. It is all listed in many books and news reports.
    Now that the entire system is compromised, a single Modi and his team will have to climb against the hill to get the corrupt jailed. A simple IAS officer who is compromised can just delay or wreck the case by holding or destroying the file, by putting a silly comment which can wreck the case in court on technical grounds.
    We have seen many cases where even though the corruption is obvious and the identity of beneficiary is clear, the courts throw the case on frivolous technical grounds. There is no accountability of the Judges, Law enforcement and the bureaucrats. Unless their appointment and service rules are revised, we shall keep seeing the corruption in India. Eventually we should return back to the Jury system where the Judge has a little say and the Jury decides the verdict. Also all districts should have elected head of police and prosecution (like the US Sherrif and the District Attorney) who have the power to investigate and prosecute any one who they feel has engaged in corruption.

    Our constitution has placed safeguards which ensures that the innocent are not victimized. But now the same laws are being used by the corrupt to save themselves and the innocent have become the victim who has nowhere to go.

    The law has to be revised and changed. And at present we know that Modi is the only person and BJP is the only party which has the ability to do this change. So let us all strengthen Modi and BJP in 2019 and ensure that the corrupt congress and its regional allies like AAP, SP, DMK, TMC etc are defeated fully. By defeat I do mean that BJP should get full majority where even a single Congress and opposition can not walk to the well of the house and create ruckus which destroys our country from inside.

      • Facts??? If all this is FACTS!!… why isnt the Concern ppl arrested? and in Jail? 4th yr running!…. and the interviews? really if they didnt do the interviews !, won’t they still be taken as guilty ? .

  2. Looking at the skill of the leaders, not to leave behind any evidence in scams,and if trapped create a irregular ruckus in parliament or parade paid followers in demonstrations and eventually delay court trials and resultant verdicts, commoners like me wonder if there will be any punishment at all. No corruption trial ends without celebrating silver jubilee. Till then lallu s , karunanidhi kanimozhi raja the scientist pioneers in corruption remain safe, healthy and wealthy,not to speak of CWG,ADARSH,POONA HORSE STUD HAWALA MAN , THE SIKH RIOT ACCUSED CONGRESSMEN.

  3. This is a fairly complicated matter and therefore requires patient study to unravel all the issues

    involved. Let us not jump to conclusions at this stage, now that investigations are on.

    • Well that is the SOP (for the not well versed Standard Operating Procedure) ! When a scam takes place many ‘feel good’ persons says ‘let law take its own course – meaning after 25 years minimum some judge in the then Supreme Court might levy a penalty of Rs 1000 or 2000 or worse quash the case. That is Indian justice.

  4. All you guys who have jumped on me are farting in the wind.My understanding of the situation is clear.Italian court has established criminality pertaining to bribe giving in the deal and has put the crooks in jail,it took them only 3 years.Modi government which took charge in 2014 had clear information from Italian court what assistance they required from us to investigate the matter at their end.Congress government which is involved neck deep in this crooked deal,which received this request from court, hardly gave any information of substance.Modi government could have followed up the matter by sending officials to attend italian court proceedings and collect all the information that are getting exposed.did they do this?As the case was still being heard at Italian court, did Modi government follow up on that court’s letter and send additional information available with the government to aid the court investigation?Did they let loose ED,SFIO,Caged parrots to investigate involvement of italian appointed agent and his movements in India till now?Did they interogate SPTyagi and his children ? Did modi government have a proper press release of what the issues are and what the government doing on it?They have used DrSwamy to silence sonia gang in Rajya sabha and have created a ruckus.If Modi government does not follow with a proper investigation and come out with the truth and in quick time, they will land up in the same mess as they did in bofors.Bofors issue was messed up by vajpayee and his cohorts including arun jaitley.As long as jaitley is still Fm, I don’t think this issue will get investigated properly.Modi sees something special in jaitley,only he and GOD knows why.I am a skeptic , I am appreciative of what DrSwamy does but I don’t trust modi or his ministers in corruption investigation till I am proved wrong by convictions in court of top crooks.mallaya is a prime example how they allowed him to run.Did modi /jaitley investigate all the bank managers who lent money to mallaya without proper surety?Others too will do a runner and the issues will be forgotten in 5 years time.So don’t jump on me as rottweilers.

  5. You guys are parroting like impotent fellows,the government in power is modi for the last 2 years.Why were they keeping quiet?What investigations did they do?Why are you not going after modi who is peddling the same trodden path of protecting corrupts?Good that you are atleast named and shamed HT,Mint,AjayShukla,TOIlet but who will collar the crooks and pimps in the garb of journalists,owners and editors? It has to be team modi .

    • You are parroting the same nonsense which Sonia protectors are saying ad nauseam.

      Now listen to this:
      1. Italian lower court had given verdict that there is no corruption involved and there is no criminality in the deal. Due to this, the case has become weak and in fact, collapsed.

      2. In such a scenario, how the Govt or CBI can pin the blame of anyone? On what basis, can they frame charges?

      3. Even if they did, all wolves would have come out on street to howl that there is a vendetta.

      4. So, Mr Shiv, the scam is huge and spans across continents. This will take time, but, don’t worry, the culprits will get caught and will surely go to jail.

      Because, Modi is not Vajpayee and Subramanian Swamy is not Advani or Jaitley. You can’t buy them. So, be prepared for more chest beating !

    • nonsense. stragetic actions to round up culprits extensively network does not happen overnight. why are you bothered about 2 years. cry for blood of the traitors now rather than finding alibi in 2 years

    • You expect the government to arrest the accused based on accusations with collecting ample evidence? Doesn’t it take time to collect evidence and ascertain paper trail in scams of this magnitude which is actually spread over multiple Countries? Either you are too naive to expect Mr Modi to arrest everyone or you are just hilariously trying to divert attention from the real scamsters towards the people who are actually working for this Country.

      • The money trial is easy to establish as bribes were apparently transferred via regular banking channels and a fair amount of work has already been done to track them even two years ago. The only point is there is no focus or interest to follow up to its logical end as Shiv says. They leave every issue half way as soon as they get the media dividend out of it and fly to the next issue, feel content with just making political damages never bothering to bring culprits to book. It could be on account of certain cross connections involving BJP guys both present & past including at regional levels. Probably they don’t want the name of Vajpayee tarnished as they want to carry the icon as equivalent to Gandhi!

        At the end of the day, it leaves a very bad taste, a frustrating one in the minds of people who are just initiated into the thrills of capturing a thief only to be told “this is a TV series and will continue for years”….

        God knows which politician is real and honest in this country!

    • They have been smart enough to cover all their asses becoz they been ruling the country for the past 60 years, they have tweaked the law according to their needs.
      Check about Ishant jahan case and how they have used whole of the system as per their needs and wants..
      We need to thank today’s advance in technology and social media which has allowed to get info which is not forced and controlled by the presstitues.


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