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Journalist and former Editor of Tehelka under CBI radar for alleged involvement in Chidambaram’s benami deals

Social media was rife today morning with several reports of ‘journalist’ Upendra Rai being arrested. Some are claiming he is arrested by CBI on bribery charges while there are some reports of him being picked up by CBI for questioning.

Upendra Rai who had joined Tehelka as CEO and Editor-in-Chief in 2016 has been reportedly associated with many shell companies and allegedly lead a lavish lifestyle, unprecedented for a journalist. News website pgurus.com had claimed in many investigative reports on the alleged benami transactions and properties owned by Rai.

As reported in pgurus.com, Rai is allegedly one of the ‘benami’ s of former finance minister P Chidambaram and owned as many as 19 residential buildings in various cities. The buildings reportedly include a 30 crore bungalow in Delhi’s Greater Kailash and flats in Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and a palatial bungalow in his ancestral town. He also reportedly owns a flat in London. As claimed by pgurus.com, he also allegedly owns several luxury cars including an Audi and Maybach. His other indulgences include a 30 crore membership of Delhi’s Gymkhana club and frequent travels in a charter aircraft. Upendra Rai is reportedly only 37 years old and suspicions were raised on how did he manage to amass such wealth in a short span and with a journalist’s salary.

Senior BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has claimed that CBI has also raided Rai’s properties and he might be involved in IPL related money laundering too.

Reports in pgurus.com also claim that Rai allegedly got paid through consultancy agreements via various shell companies, a point of similarity in the Karti Chidambaram’s involvement in the INX Media case. The website had also raised suspicions on why Rai holds a media accreditation card issued by Press Information Bureau despite being placed under the Undesirable Contact Men (UCM) list by CBI. Rai also holds an All Airports Entry Pass by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). As claimed by pgurus, Rai also allegedly earned hundreds of crores by influencing investigations and policy-making through his contacts in the government. Pgurus also claims that Rai took 19 housing loans in between 2014 to 2017 and paid all of them off prematurely. Rai had allegedly been paid in several crores frequently by shell companies like Mumbai based White Lion Real Estate developers. Rai had also reportedly filed an FIR on pgurus.com.

Rai had also been associated with the Sahara Group in the past where he worked as Group CEO and Editor-in-Chief before joining Tehelka and had been associated with other media houses in the past too.

Upendra Rai was accused of threatening and blackmailing investigative officers on behalf of Sahara chief Subrata Roy too. In 2013, Rai was issued a notice by the Supreme Court on charges of the Enforcement Directorate on allegations of threatening and blackmailing the ED investigative team headed by Rajeshwar Singh.

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