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Rashtrapati Bhavan pulls up Rajdeep Sardesai, India Today for Netaji portrait blunder, to review further engagements with media house

On January 23, 2021, the President of India unveiled a portrait of Netaji on his 125th birth anniversary. However, Sardesai, along with other prominent 'journalists' had asserted the portrait was of Prosenjit and not of Netaji.

President of India’s office, in a strongly worded letter to India Today group, has condemned the unsavoury controversy surrounding the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose portrait that was unveiled by President Ramnath Kovind earlier this week.

Letter to India Today

In the letter, written by the Press Secretary of the President, Ajay Kumar Singh, on behalf of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said that the motives behind dragging the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the controversy by some of the journalists associated with the India Today group are not clear.

Addressing Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, the letter said how a section of journalists associated with the group alleged that the portrait was not of Netaji but of an actor named Prosenjit, who played role of Bose in a movie ‘Gumnami’.

On January 23, 2021, the President of India unveiled a portrait of Netaji on his 125th birth anniversary. However, Sardesai, along with other prominent ‘journalists’ had asserted the portrait was of Prosenjit and not of Netaji.

Rajdeep Sardesai’s now deleted tweet

In a now-deleted tweet, Sardesai had said that the Rashtrapati Bhavan could have found a ‘nice original’ portrait for the occasion.

He later, instead of apologising for the needless controversy, had put the burden of clarification on the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

He had tweeted that the government ‘insists’ that the Netaji portrait is an original portrait and not from movie, thereby insinuating that he still believes the portrait was of Prosenjit and not of Netaji.

Some time later, he again tweeted Netaji’s photograph on which the artist Paresh Maity made the portrait.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan rebuked India Today group for gleefully ridiculing the high Constitutional Office while not only discrediting their professional ethics but also cast a shadow on the office of the President of India. “You will agree that such irresponsible behaviour compromises the dignity of the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the letter said.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan stated that this behaviour was not a momentary lapse of judgement or a forgivable slip of pen as most of these journalists associated with India Today group merely deleted their tweet and did not own up to their blunder.

The President’s office further stated that this whole episode has caused deep distress at Rashtrapati Bhavan and are forced to review their engagement with the India Today Group.

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