It is not new for the Times of India to do hit jobs against people who are against Congress. From “Rambo Modi” story to the latest “No holiday on Christmas” one, Times Group has helped Congress more than Rahul Gandhi’s leadership has.
But ever wondered why the Times Group is pro-Congress?
No, it is not due to ideology. While the bulk of Indian media is left-leaning and thus anti-BJP, the reason behind Times Group being pro-Congress is because the family that owns the media conglomerate feels obliged and indebted towards the Nehru-Gandhi family.
The Jains, who own the Times Group, are returning a big favour that was given to them by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency period, and before that, the extended Sahu-Jain family had received a favour by Jawaharlal Nehru after independence.
While Indira gave them the power and wealth they currently enjoy, without which they would have been ordinary businessmen, Nehru too tried to save them, though he was not so brazen as his daughter Indira.
The story goes back to the days when the Times of India was owned by Ramkrishna Dalmia, who is also related to the Sahu-Jain family.
Dalmia had acquired Times Group from its British owners just after independence, but in the process, he had misused his position as Chairman of an insurance company. This irregularity was ignored by the then government led by Jawaharlal Nehru.
However, Nehru’s son-in-law and Indira Gandhi’s husband Feroze Gandhi, who was a man of his principles, raised the issue in the parliament and insisted on an inquiry.
It resulted in the case going to court where Ramkrishna Dalmia was found guilty of financial impropriety. He was sent to Tihar Jail for two years.
Despite the proof of this fraud, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru didn’t impose any heavy penalty on the group and allowed the ownership of Times Group to be transferred from Ramkrishna Dalmia to Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, who was the son-in-law of Dalmia family and grandfather of the current Jain brothers.
But the biggest help came more than a decade after.
Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, the new owner of the Times Group, was found guilty of selling subsidized newsprint obtained from the government in the black market in the 1960s. This was illegal and a breach of trust. Not only this resulted in Jain going to jail, but the ownership was taken over by the government of India.
Suddenly, the powerful Jains were left without controlling power on their media business!
The newspaper remained with the government for almost a decade. Jains had lost all hopes of running the business like their private concern, which it was before Jain was found guilty of black marketing and violation of government trust.
But a miracle happened during Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1976.
Indira Gandhi, who is notorious for nationalizing banks and putting state control over businesses, suddenly found respect for private property and returned the ownership of Times Group to Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain’s son Ashok Jain.
Now put yourself in the shoes of the Jain family. Will you not be indebted?
And they were indebted. And they started paying back this debt with immediate effect.
During Emergency, The Times of India was termed as “The Times of Indira”, where editorials in praise of Sanjay Gandhi, who was ruthless during Emergency, were published.
Later Ashok Jain removed most of the senior journalists who were critical of Nehru-Gandhi family as well as those journalists who were nationalists.
And the tradition seems to be continuing to this day. The media group also enjoys palatial buildings in Lutyens Delhi that were allotted by Congress governments and is used virtually as private bungalow by the Jain family.
It’s human nature. You have to return the favour in some form, and the Times Group is doing that.