हालांकि दलालों का जीवन किसी करियर का मोहताज नहीं होता और दलालों का कोई करियर भी नहीं होता क्योंकि दलाली अपने आप में इतना बड़ा भारी काम होता है कि एक काम हो जाने के बाद कइयों के लिए तो कई सालों तक और कुछ के लिए कई पुरखों तक खाने-पीने का इंतजाम हो जाया करता है, फिर भी, कुछ लोग अपने को बड़ा और महान पत्रकार कहलाते नहीं थकते, और, उन्होंने अपने बड़प्पन की उंचाई कथित करियर के जरिए तय की हो तो उनके करियर के खात्मे की शुरुआत पर चर्चा करना लाजिमी है.
खबर है कि वीर सांघवी नपने लगे हैं. जिन नीरा राडिया के टेपों ने तहलका मचा रखा है, उन टेपों में से कुछ चार-पांच टेपों में कैद वीर सांघवी ने अपनी टेपाई बातचीत में सोनिया गांधी और राहुल गांधी का नाम क्या ले लिया कि उनके पीछे एक-एक कर कई बेशर्म मीडिया घराने लाठी लेकर पड़ गए हैं. तो बंधुओं, बेशर्म मीडिया घरानों ने सोनिया-राहुल का नाम आ जाने की मजबूरी के कारण धीरे-धीरे एक्शन लेना शुरू किया है.
ताजी सूचना है कि एचटी ग्रुप ने हिंदुस्तान टाइम्स में हर रविवार प्रकाशित होने वाले वीर सांघवी के कालम ”काउंटरप्वाइंट” को बंद करने का फैसला किया है. आज एचटी में वीर सांघवी का अंतिम दिन है. आज आखिरी बार कालम प्रकाशित हुआ है और आगे से उनका कालम बंद. यह फैसला एचटी ग्रुप ने टेप कांड में वीर सांघवी के बुरी तरह फंसे होने के बाद लिया है. नीरा राडिया से बातचीत में वीर सांघवी राहुल और सोनिया गांधी से करीबी होने और उनके साथ बैठक कर मन मुताबिक फैसले कराने के दावे करते नजर आते हैं. बताया जाता है कि इस टेप में नीरा राडिया से बातचीत के दौरान सोनिया व राहुल का नाम वीर सांघवी द्वारा लेने के कारण कांग्रेस के दिग्गज नेता खफा हैं. दिग्गज कांग्रेसियों ने कई जगहों पर लिखित और मौखिक रूप से स्पष्ट किया है कि वीर सांघवी की सोनिया और राहुल के साथ किसी प्रकार की कोई मीटिंग नहीं हुई है और न ही कैबिनेट के गठन को लेकर किसी मुद्दे पर उनसे डिस्कस किया गया है.
एक अन्य सूचना के मुताबिक न्यू इंडियन एक्सप्रेस ने भी वीर सांघवी के एक्सक्लूसिव साप्ताहिक कालम को ड्राप करने का फैसला कर लिया है. हालांकि इस सूचना की अभी पुष्टि नहीं हो पाई है. एचटी द्वारा वीर सांघवी के कालम को बंद किए जाने के फैसले पर वीर सांघवी अपने ब्लाग पर लिखते हैं कि उन्होंने खुद ही ब्रेक लेने का फैसला किया है. वीर सांघवी अपने ब्लाग पर लिखते हैं-
“The whole episode has left me feeling battered. Perhaps it will drag on. Perhaps more muck will fly around. I have no desire to subject Counterpoint to this filth. It deserves better. So, Counterpoint will be taking a break. When life returns to normal, so will Counterpoint.”
और आगे एक जगह वीर सांघवी लिखते हैं…
“As for me, I must say in all humility, that I will use the break to do some thinking. Of course, I’ll still be around, both here at the HT and in Brunch and in all the other places your normally find me (TV, books, live events, etc.). Counterpoint has taken a break before (six months in 2000). It returned rested and refreshed. This time around, perhaps a rest will lead to renewal.”
वीर सांघवी ने अपने ब्लाग पर जो कुछ लिखा है, वो पूरा का पूरा इस प्रकार है—
Setting the record straight (NEW)
I’ve been writing Counterpoint for close to two decades now. The column began in Sunday magazine in the 90s and its early versions dealt with Ayodhya, the challenges of liberalisation and the pre-occupations of that era.
It travelled with me to the Hindustan Times and, during this century, it has benefited vastly from the HT’s massive readership. With 30 lakh readers it is among the country’s best-read political columns, simultaneously admired and reviled for the stands it regularly takes.
Because each Counterpoint evokes so much response, I do my best to ensure that I do not miss a single week. Over the last year, the column has been written in such unusual locations as the Rajasthan jungles, the Kerala backwaters, and a cafe in New York. No matter where I am or how creaky the communications facilities are, I find a way to write Counterpoint and to get it to the HT desk in Delhi.
And while I do many other things (other columns, articles, books, a website, TV shows etc.) Counterpoint is probably the one I enjoy the most. As the column’s popularity and influence have grown, I have begun to regard it almost as a separate entity, a trusted friend perhaps, who has to be treated with respect and reverence. In my slightly crazier moments, I find myself thinking: this thing is much bigger than I am.
People often ask me how long it takes to write Counterpoint. The answer is: not very long. The actual writing is the easy part. The difficult bit is the thinking, the planning and the research. Even if each column takes an hour to write, this is preceded by days of calling up people, gathering the sorts of information that is not yet in the public eye and discussing the central argument with friends and colleagues and turning it over in my head.
I mention all this to give you some idea of how important Counterpoint is to me – for reasons which will soon be clear.
Over the last week, some of you may have noticed that my name has been dragged into a controversy over tape-recordings. These tapes relate to phone calls made by Niira Radia, owner of India’s largest PR company, last year.
I first heard of these tapes this April when it was reported that the income-tax department had tapped Radia’s phone. Papers purporting to be official documents were anonymously delivered to media outlets. These documents named a host of people Radia had spoken to and included the astonishing claim that several journalists – including me – had lobbied for A. Raja, the then telecom minister.
I was startled. Not only have I never met or spoken to Raja (or to M. Karunanidhi or to Kanimozhi or the rest of the DMK) I have actually attacked him in print for his corruption on a regular basis, certainly long before he was finally forced from office.
So, how could I have lobbied for him?
I asked around. I was told that yes, some tapes did exist. Perhaps some officer had sold them to interested parties but certainly, no investigative agency believed that I had anything to do with Raja. I was relieved.
I shouldn’t have been.
A week ago, these tapes surfaced again. There are, apparently, over 5,000 conversations on the tapes. Somebody has leaked only 110 of them, most of them involving journalists. Who leaked the tapes? Why? And who decided which ones to leak? No one will say.
The tapes include conversations with some of India’s leading journalists and editors. This is not particularly surprising. Radia represents India’s biggest industrialists (among them Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani) so naturally, she will have conversations with journalists. But what’s interesting is this: though there are at least 25 well-known and important journalists on the leaked tapes, the stories have focussed on three or four, and two in particular. One of them is me.
When the story first broke, I read the transcripts. They seemed to me to have been doctored (I said so last week in a statement on my website). I then listened to the actual tapes. There were gaps, words had been deleted, whole chunks of conversation had been removed and there was an obvious malafide attempt to cause mischief.
I checked the publications that carried the tapes. They were clear. They would not vouch for the authenticity of the tapes.
The doctoring and selectivity of the leaks aside, the tapes have raised several questions. In my case, it amounts to this: the relationship of a journalist with his sources.
My view is that to figure out what is actually going on behind the scenes, a journalist sometimes has to appear sympathetic and even to string along his sources so that they reveal their ultimate motivation. (Why they are really talking to you? What kind of article do they want?) You need to get behind the PR blather.
What you say to the source is less important than what you do with the information that emerges from the conversation. Do you write a piece that is fair and accurate? Are you sure that you have not been swayed by their PR talk?
Ultimately, journalists must be judged by their journalism. Not by conversations with sources that are secretly recorded and then relayed to the public in a doctored form.
One conversation relates to a call Radia made to me (she called several journos) when there was a crisis in government formation: the DMK was threatening to pull out of the UPA. I knew she had access to DMK leaders so I listened closely as she said that the DMK wanted to compromise but the problem was that nobody was speaking to Karunanidhi directly. Could I pass this on to Congress leaders?
I had no intention of passing along the information but I strung her along and said I would because the conversation gave me an insight: the DMK would not back out of the UPA despite the hard line it was taking in public.
No message was ever conveyed by me. And Congress leaders have now confirmed that.
The second case annoys me more because it relates to Counterpoint. This column is rarely about business but on two occasions I touched on the subject. One column was about how oligarchs were cornering India’s natural resources such as gas, minerals and spectrum. “Anybody who knows how to pay off the DMK has no difficulty in cornering spectrum…” I wrote.
Because the High Court had just ruled on the Ambani gas dispute, I referred to it though the column was on a larger issue and not specifically about the Ambanis. I spoke to both sides. The Mukesh side (Radia) went on and on but two points seemed to have merit. One was that the gas belonged to the country. Two: Anil had benefited from a deal struck by Amar Singh on his behalf.
I put both claims to Anil’s side. I was not convinced by their position on gas (neither was the Supreme Court, which also agreed that the gas belonged to the country not the Ambanis, some months later) but I thought they were right on the so-called Amar Singh deal and said so (“I am happy to accept their denials…”).
But equally I did not think it was right for any one industrialist to have control of our natural resources. As I wrote: “It’s one thing for an industrialist to pay off a politician to build a factory; quite another for him to corner our gas…Allow industrialists to do this and you will end with a new league of super-businessmen not unlike Russia’s oligarchs who nobody can ever touch and who become laws unto themselves.”
The second piece was on how the Ambanis need not drag the whole country into their battle (famous last words, eh?). And once again, I spoke to both sides. I also recorded in the piece that I had done so: “My friend Tony Jesudasan, who represents Anil, took me out to lunch and made out a case for Anil…My friend Niira Radia, who represents Mukesh, gave me the other side.”
So, what’s the fuss about? Well, because my conversations with Anil’s side (though noted in the column) were not taped it is possible to claim that I represented only one side. Moreover, that tape has clearly been doctored to remove context and create trouble.
The only response possible to such claims is to let the work speak for itself. Read both articles in their entirety on my website (the links are given below) and judge for yourself. I think you will find that they are completely fair.
Which brings us back to Counterpoint. The whole episode has left me feeling battered. Perhaps it will drag on. Perhaps more muck will fly around. I have no desire to subject Counterpoint to this filth. It deserves better. So, Counterpoint will be taking a break. When life returns to normal, so will Counterpoint.
As for me, I must say in all humility, that I will use the break to do some thinking. Of course, I’ll still be around, both here at the HT and in Brunch and in all the other places your normally find me (TV, books, live events, etc.). Counterpoint has taken a break before (six months in 2000). It returned rested and refreshed. This time around, perhaps a rest will lead to renewal.
वीर सांघवी की नीरा राडिया से बातचीत के टेप को पढ़ने-सुनने के लिए क्लिक करें- इन टेपों में वीर सांघवी ने सोनिया गांधी की चाभी अपने पास होने का दावा कर दिया