The media community is generally known as one which disrespects each others’ work more than anything else. The five-star journalists often ride the information brought in by the beat reporters, hogging all the limelight and forgetting to even acknowledge the foot-soldiers who work tirelessly and honestly.
Something similar was done today by Narasimhan Ram of The Hindu. N Ram is a veteran. He is a prominent member of the Kasturi family that owns The Hindu group. He has been the Managing-Director of The Hindu since 1977 and its Editor-in-Chief from 27 June 2003 until 18 January 2012. Ram also headed the other publications of The Hindu Group such as Frontline, The Hindu Business Line and Sportstar. He was in fact awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India during the Congress regime. After the decades of being in the profession, today, N Ram has shamelessly taken another journalist’s hard work and called it his own. A The Hindu “Exclusive”.
Today, N Ram wrote a shoddy article in The Hindu about the Rafale deal which the Congress has been trying and failing, to discredit. In this article, he has shamelessly taken the work of a defence journalist called Manu Pubby and not only passed it off as his own, but also presented a skewed version of his reportage.
The article proudly proclaims that the article is based on documents accessed by The Hindu exclusively.
N Ram writes that according to the “exclusive” documents and “new information”, the design and development cost was 1.4 billion euros, which was renegotiated by the Modi government at 1.3 billion euros.
In a September 18th 2018 article, Manu Pubby had already made these revelations that are today being touted by N Ram to be his “exclusive”.
The only difference in the reportage is that while Manu Pubby reported only the facts as is, N Ram has peddled his agenda using Manu Pubby’s data to reach a bizarre conclusion that the ISE (India Specific Enhancements) when divided in 36 Rafales compared to being divided between 126 Rafales, the per unit cost increases. He forgets to take into account that the ISE is a fixed cost that would remain the same whether the country bought 1, 36, 126, or 500 Rafales. These points were mentioned in Pubby’s article.
N Ram then writes:
“The price quoted by the vendor for one flyaway bare-bones aircraft was €79.3 million. By 2011, the escalation cost factor had taken this per-aircraft price up to €100.85 million. In 2016, the 9% discount on the 2011 price obtained by the NDA government for the 36 Rafales it was buying from France through an Inter-Governmental Agreement brought this per-aircraft price down to €91.75 million”.
This was reported by Manu Pubby and Sushant Singh. In fact, the 9% cost reduction was mentioned by Eric Trappier in an exclusive interview to Manu Pubby himself.
N Ram then speaks about the objections that were raised during the negotiations. He names three people viz Rajeev Verma, Joint Secretary & Acquisitions Manager (Air), Ajit Sule, Financial Manager (Air), and M.P. Singh, Adviser (Cost). Interestingly, these objections were reported by Manu Pubby in details too. What Ram leaves out is how the dissent was finally resolved, the aspect which was reported by Manu. Of course, those aspects were left out because it did not suit the narrative Ram wanted to build.
Ram also talks about the 20% discount Eurofighter was willing to give. This aspect too was reported by Manu Pubby and he had mentioned the reason this was not considered – because it would violate the CVC standards.
In the end, absolutely nothing in N Ram’s is new. Several of these revelations were also made by Defence Analyst Abhijit Iyer Mitra in his numerous articles that talk about the Rafale deal.
The table used by N Ram itself defeats the purpose of his article as written by Sudhir in MyInd.net.
In the end, we are left with one thought and one thought only: Why did a senior journalist like N Ram put his name to such a shoddy article and especially, pass off others’ journalism as his own “exclusive”. After the most recent lie on Rafale was busted by OpIndia, one can only imagine the level of frustration that the Congress ecosystem feels since none of their hollow allegations seems to hold water. They wanted to drag Modi’s name down to their level, and that doesn’t seem to be happening even with all the chants of “chowkidaar chor hai”.
While N Ram has maintained the shoddy standards of The Hindu’s reportage, what is most tragic is how he has stolen from another journalist without giving any of the others their due credit.
In the face of such blatant plagiarism, Manu Pubby maintained his composure and tweeted his own article.
Attention back on Rafale – the first detailed account of the ten objections by the negotiating committee and how they were overruled is this September 2018 article. https://t.co/HfG0j4ft7a pic.twitter.com/tZiScV4lYR
— Manu Pubby (@manupubby) January 18, 2019
While LiveFist went ahead and called N Ram out for the plagiarism.
Wondering how @The_Hindu claims that its big Rafale price report today by @NRamInd breaks ‘new information’ or that it’s based on never before data & documents. Pretty sure this was reported in full by @ManuPubby last September! ? pic.twitter.com/jRd5kDxtqo
— Livefist (@livefist) January 18, 2019
Though expecting ethics from The Hindu is a fool’s endevour, one hopes that at least now The Hindu and N Ram would give Manu Pubby and Abhijit Iyer their due credit instead of calling this as an “exclusive”.