‘Stinging’ India’s Politics: Of Bribes, Power And Unanswered Questions

TMC Sting

A couple of days ago, we had published a story on how a journalist has questioned the authenticity of the man responsible for the infamous sting operation on key leaders of Mamata Banerjee’s party Trinamool Congress. In the previous article, we had also mentioned, Mathew Samuel’s- the man in question- reply to the journalist’s accusations. [Read here: Is The Mamata Banerjee Govt Indeed Guilty Of ‘Graft’?]

The following article is by Ankush Vats who had questioned Mathew Samuel’s sting operation. This is an exclusive for The Viewspaper.

Ever since I wrote the post questioning Mathew Samuel on why he stopped some stories from publishing during his tenure as the managing editor of Tehelka, I have been flooded with messages with people telling me that I did the right thing. But there were also people who asked if I was questioning the credibility of the the TMC sting. I’d like to clarify that the sting looks real to me. TMC may argue that it was a political conspiracy, but they still have to explain why the leaders accepted money. Anyways, I’m not here to discuss the sting that was released, my question is on the stings that were never released by Mr Samuel.

Mr Samuel has responded to my post on his Facebook page but my questions still remain unanswered. I had posed the same question to him during the news hour debate on Times Now where he put the entire blame on his former boss KD Singh, the owner of Tehelka. Again, I’m not saying KD Singh is innocent, he is equally responsible for the mess Tehelka is in right now.

In his Facebook post also Mr Samuel stated that he had no editorial freedom in Tehelka and that he tried to resign three times. First of all, I’d like to say that if he faced any such issues he should have conveyed this during the editorial meetings that would take place twice a week. I’m sure that our team in Tehelka was brave and courageous enough to have stood for their editor. But he never did.

Yes, there were editorial restrictions in Tehelka, not for Mr Samuel but for the reporters. Like this colleague of mine who did a story on a land scam in Jharkhand. Mr Samuel put the story on hold for one month before scrapping it altogether. When our bureau chief questioned it, he was asked to not come to office, not by KD Singh or Mr Samuel, but by the driver of Mathew Samuel. Is this how you sack such a senior journalist?

When you tell lies after lies after lies, you don’t remember what lie have you told to whom. Like in case of Mr Samuel, when he announced his decision to leave Tehelka, he followed it up with a statement that his new project will be a sister concern of Tehelka and that he and KD Singh will work together on the project. So the question that Mr Samuel didn’t answer in his Facebook post is that, why did he ask for investment from the same person (KD Singh) who had put editorial restrictions on him? Such a confusing man he is. Or may be, KD Singh and Mathew Samuel fell apart and now he is blaming KD for everything.

I only knew about the Bihar sting that he did not release. But after I wrote that post I got one call saying he had done some sting on Sahara as well but never released it. He even alleged that a deal was fixed. Well, I don’t know about the deal, I’ll leave it to the readers’ judgement. But yes he had done a sting on Sahara. He confessed it to my friend over a phone call the other day. Sadly, he could not record the call. There are several other stories which were filed by our outstation correspondents but were never published. I will list them all once I collect the details.

Meanwhile, he has been claiming before everyone that it was his project and he did not use Tehelka resources for Narada. This is a plain lie. I, myself had seen people working for Narada sitting in Tehelka’s office. What does he has to say about it?

Lots of questions need to be answered by the ‘stingman’ of our country. But when? I request Mr Samuel to answer these questions before he flies off to set his base in Dubai where Narada is headquartered.

Ankush Vats is a journalist who was formerly associated with Tehelka and has questioned the integrity of the man behind the much-hyped sting operation.

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