Some journalists running extortion racket out of Nirav Modi’s buyers’ list, claims report

A startling claim about the aftermaths of the PNB fraud came to light today when news portal pgurus.com today published a report that stated that there are a bunch of journalists who, by their contacts in the Income Tax department, have got hold of a list and using it to blackmail people.

The report stated that after the Nirav Modi bank fraud was reported, the Income Tax officials raided Nirav Modi’s showrooms across the country and several accounts and purchase related documents were seized. Among these documents, there was a list of VVIP purchasers and the amount they paid to purchase jewellery from Nirav Modi’s outlets. The list also separates the total amount paid by these VVIP purchasers through accounted ways and the amount paid by unaccounted ways or cash payments.

The seven-page list published in the pgurus.com report features some very prominent names in India’s media, entertainment and business houses. The report goes ahead to allege that some unscrupulous journalists, in collusion with certain dishonest officials at the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Finance Ministry, got hold of the list and have since been allegedly blackmailing people who have their names featured in the list. These journalists, who run news websites have reportedly made it into an extortion business.

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The report then explains that In India, due to unfriendly tax regimes, it is often a common practice for the rich to buy jewellery through cash payment. The report claims that an actress approached pgurus.com stating that she is being blackmailed by journalists even after she paid 5 lakhs each to a website owner and a TV journalist who blackmailed her over the list. The actress, on condition of anonymity, has stated that even after she paid the two, she got phone calls from other journalists who too wanted to extort money.

The pgurus.com report stated that though it is a tax violation to pay for jewellery through unaccounted cash, it is a bigger crime to blackmail and demand extortion money. The list features name like Shobhana Bhartia, the owner of Hindustan Times who was one the biggest purchaser for several years. The list also includes big names like Deepti Salgaocar and Kokilaben Ambani, the sister and mother of industrialists Mukesh and Anil Ambani. Several other prominent individuals from political, media and industry backgrounds. The pgurus.com report further added that though the list does feature several powerful and rich people, the unscrupulous journalists have only tried to blackmail artists and actresses who were not very powerful. The report has published the entire list and added that they are doing it to put a stop to the extortion racket being run by the unethical journalists.

The revealing report also was the epicentre of a social media meltdown by abusive troll masquerading as a journalist, Swati Chaturvedi. The list also included her name and mentioned that she had allegedly purchased jewellery and made payment of 14 lakhs through allegedly unaccounted methods. Film-maker Vivek Agnihotri was threatened with legal action when he asked Swati about it.

Swati insisted she has a bill and asked Vivek to check with relevant authorities.

Swati however, switched to her usual style soon and avoided answering then question Vivek asked.

If the claims of the report are indeed true, it not only raises questions on the professional ethics of the journalists but also points towards the loopholes in the system that unscrupulous people take advantage of.

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