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Agle janam mohe ‘liberal’ hi kijo…

I want to be a 'liberal' so I can get away with fabricating documents, conjuring up imaginary 'dangerous' apps with industrial grade spying abilities straight out of science fiction novels, trigger riots, murders over 'blasphemy' and whine on international platform that government is baying for my blood.

‘Liberals’ in India are a privileged lot. They can call everyone who disagrees with them names like ‘bhakt’, ‘Godi media’, ‘bigot’, ‘Islamophobe’ and get away with it. While in essence and by definition, ‘liberals’ are the ones who are supposed to be tolerant of other person’s point of view. But no, they’ll call you ‘Nazis’ or ‘Nazi enabler’ and cancel you just because they do not agree with your viewpoint.

Which is why next time, I want to be born as a ‘liberal’. So I can get away with fabricating documents, conjure up imaginary ‘dangerous’ apps with industrial grade spying abilities straight out of science fiction novels, trigger riots, murders over ‘blasphemy’ by ‘only reporting’ and whine on international platform that government is baying for my blood.

Or I could also go a step further and display my entitlement by creating an air that the government wants to ‘silence my courage’ and hence ‘bought’ the media house I was editor even if my bosses in all their sanity issued convertible debentures to a company, did not clear the debt and then the company exercised its right to convert the same into equity – all legally. Why let facts get into the way of insanity?

2022 started with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 scare. But that is not the only virus that has been plaguing India. When the Omicron scare was at its peak, The Wire published an article about an imaginary app called ‘Tek Fog’. The entire ‘Tek Fog’ ridiculousness was based on a bunch of tweets one anonymous, very likely, sock puppet, Twitter account ‘Aarthi Sharma’ who claimed to be disgruntled BJP IT cell worker.

The Wire had claimed their team comprising of one Devesh Kumar and one Ayushman Kaul, spent 18 hours ‘investigating’ the app, which they NEVER had access to. They solely relied on ‘screenshots’ provided by their ‘source’ – the ‘source’ they never met. Let that sink in. This superhuman app could hack into any and every device and hijack any and every conversation and ‘harass’ anyone they want. And this app was ‘developed’ by the BJP.

No one in The Wire team even once played the devil’s advocate. It could be one of the two things: they were so blinded by their hate they gave in to conformation bias or they knowingly published the dubious works by two random dudes, one of which had earlier claimed to have been running a ‘parallel IT cell’ to ‘manipulate anti-BJP trends’ because it furthered their narrative. Imagine publishing ridiculous fiction like this instead of seeking therapy and medical help.

This idiocy was lapped up by all and sundry and people like TMC MP Derek NoBrain O’Brien even brought it up in the Parliament. International media wrote multiple editorials and opinion pieces on what a dangerous game the BJP was playing. Except, BJP was being given credit for something they clearly had never created.

And if that was not enough, they then created another absurdity. They portrayed BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya as some all powerful supervillain who has incredible powers in digital world and with just one click he can get anything he wants removed. This, they claimed they had access to ‘Meta Insider’ who revealed all these details and ‘leaked’ internal communications. Sh*t hit the roof when Meta communications and security personnel both denied existence of any such list or ever having sent mails which The Wire claimed were authentic.

Things got so worse that even some people who had lapped up Tek Fog stupidity raised doubts over this Meta controversy and the whole thing came crashing down and The Wire had to withdraw the articles written on fabricated documents ‘pending internal inquiry’. The outcome of such ‘internal inquiry’ is not yet out and the ‘liberals’ actually hailed The Wire for ‘withdrawing’ the stories – instead of addressing the elephant in the room – they had published articles based on fabricated documents.

And not just that. Earlier this month, The Wire’s Siddharth Varadarajan, who took bylines for the Meta monstrosity, was given awards by Mumbai Press Club. Any other media house which did not have a left-leaning would have been destroyed for publishing stories based on fabricated documents. In fact, the same set of ‘liberals’ would have protested and returned their own awards they may or may not have paid for, in protest of being given such award after passing off absolute fiction as groundbreaking investigative journalism. But not The Wire. For The Wire, it is saat-sau chhiyasi khoon maaf.

This is liberal privilege.

Speaking of privilege, let me remind everyone about how ‘fact-checkers’ triggered riots, led to murders of innocent people by sharing one out of context clip and crying blasphemy. In May this year, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, in debate with one maulana over mocking of Shivling found at disputed structure at Gyanvapi complex passed comments on Prophet Muhammad. Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair shared the clip without the portion where the maulana was making distasteful comments on the Shivling. Further, Zubair never really ‘fact-checked’ Nupur Sharma. He never shared correct version of the statements Sharma had made. But that one moment of virtue signalling and crying ‘Islamophobia’ has painted Nupur Sharma as a target. Blasphemy in Islam is punishable by death.

That Salman Rushdie was stabbed in New York earlier this year, over 30 years after he was accused of blasphemy for his book ‘The Satanic Verses’ believed to be a satirical take on Islamic scripture, just shows how once a target, always a target. Sharma will likely never be able to live a normal life. But Mohammed Zubair, who dogwhistled against Nupur, is being hailed as a brave voice. So brave he is that he is yet to tell exactly where Nupur Sharma was factually incorrect. Apparently, stating things written in your own scriptures is now ‘blasphemy’ if person you disagree with says it.

Oh, and remember The Wire and its Tek Fog absurdity? Well, The Wire minions had come up with one more article on Tek Fog after the whole Nupur Sharma controversy where they had claimed Zubair was ‘targeted’ by BJP IT Cell using ‘Tek Fog’ app. This, too, was lapped up by everyone. It’s like a perpetual victim chamber where if you do not like Modi, you are somehow always the ‘hunted’.

Speaking of victim chamber, how can one forget Rana Ayyub? The financial fraud accused Washington Post columnist who would cry Islamophobia on international platform but would be too afraid to condemn stabbing of Salman Rushdie. Ayyub, too, would never say it in as many words that ‘blasphemy’ should not be punished with death. Once there is legal sanction, the mob is very likely to take things in their own hands, oftentimes for the ‘glory’ one gets amongst their radical peers. We’ve seen how things have gone from bad to worse in Pakistan, which has very strict laws on blasphemy.

I’ll also tell you how Ayyub portrays herself to be a victim. If Ayyub thinks some of her tweet will likely invite some abuse, especially from Modi supporters, she will keep replies to her tweets on. Like her pinned tweet, where Washington Post published a full front page ad featuring her to cry freedom of press in India is under attack. She has tagged Washington Post and others at that company so that when someone replies with or without ‘abuses’ these people would also get alerts. You see, when they see their mentions are blown up from Indians sending abuses their way, it just makes her case stronger.

But her many other posts will not have replies option open, especially when influential people or people/organisations she doesn’t seek sympathy/’Indian Muslims are in danger’ tripe solidarity. Ayyub is not only too smart by half but also a privileged liberal. She could be accused of financial fraud, publish absolute lies, factually incorrect things and pass them off as ‘brave investigative journalism’ and still be a victim.

This is liberal privilege.

And while we’re talking about ‘brave’ and ‘courage’, let us not forget the latest ‘main apna favourite hoon’ YouTuber: Ravish Kumar. The man has issues.

Ravish Kumar Pandey thinks that Gautam Adani ‘bought’ shares in NDTV to ‘silence’ him. Hmm.

Okay, so earlier in November, New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV)’s promoter company RRPR Holding transferred 99.5% of its equity shares to Adani group owned Vishvapradhan Commercial (VCPL). The transaction was in consonance with a conversion notice which was issued by VCPL on 23 August, 2022.

On November 11, 2022, Adani group had announced it will launch an open offer to acquire an additional 26% of NDTV’s public shares. In August, Adani Enterprises Ltd’s subsidiary AMG Media Networks Ltd purchased Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt Ltd (VCPL), which had lent Rs 403.85 crore to NDTV promoter business RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd in 2009 and 2010. Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy were the owners of RRPR Holding.

RRPR provided warrants to VCPL in exchange for this interest-free loan, entitling it to convert them into a 99.9% share in RRPR. RRPR owned 29.18 percent of NDTV, hence Adani Group obtained a 29.18 percent stake in NDTV in this manner. Following the acquisition of VCPL for Rs 113.75 crore, the Adani Group declared an open offer to purchase another 26% interest in NDTV.

How did Adani come around to do this? Was it personal vendetta against Ravish Kumar? No. It is a business deal. In all fairness.

While the monetary troubles of NDTV began in 2004, their first shenanigan was their deal with General Atlantic Partners Investment (GA). That deal allegedly violated PIT (Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations) and SAST (Substantial Acquisition of Shares & Takeover Regulations) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The details of that deal have been covered in detail by PGurus and can be read here.

In June 2008, the promoters of NDTV made an open offer for the shares of the company. To bankroll the open offer, they took a loan of Rs 540 crores from Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd by pledging their shares in NDTV as security. Four months later, in October 2008, NDTV promoters borrowed Rs 375 crores from the ICICI Bank Ltd at 19 per cent per annum to repay their loan obtained from Indiabulls Financial Services. To obtain the borrowing of Rs 375 crores, the promoters had encumbered their entire shareholding in NDTV through non-disposal undertakings with ICICI Bank, meaning although the shares of NDTV were owned by the promoters, they are at the same time subject to a legal claim by the ICICI Bank. 

A few months later, in July 2009, NDTV promoters took another loan of Rs 350 crores from VCPL to repay ICICI Bank Ltd. RRPR, Dr Roy, Ms Roy and VCPL were signatories to the loan agreement. Through the agreement, RRPR Holding company secured Rs 350 crores which enabled it to discharge its liability towards ICICI Bank. 

Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VCPL), is company incorporated in 2008. In 2009, it offered unsecured loan to NDTV’s holding company, Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy Holding Private Limited (RRPRH) worth Rs 403.85 crore. RRPRH held 29% equity in NDTV. 

VCPL, in same year, had received unsecured loan from Shinano Retail Private Limited, which had obtained money from Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited, a part of Reliance Group. Shinano Retail was a fully owned subsidiary of Reliance Group. Since these documents are publicly available and one assumes the legal team of the company as well as the Directors who one assumes are of sane mind, would carry out due diligence, NDTV was aware that it was obtaining unsecured loan from an entity that was linked to Reliance group. For its part, VCPL was owned by Shinano Retail and Teesta Retail Private Limited, another fully owned subsidiary of Reliance Group. 

As one can see, it was a business deal. But Ravish Kumar saw this as an opportunity to play victim and get some brownie points from his peers who like to live in same echo chamber with misplaced sense of entitlement and cried that Adani carried out a very legally valid business deal to ‘silence’ him.

This is liberal privilege.

One can write reports based on fabricated documents, double down, cry victim and give too much importance to self and get away with it because they are ‘liberals’.

And here I am, a ‘bigoted bhakt’, who is not even followed by PM Modi or HM Shah on Twitter – even though this Gujarat model is currently in Delhi, just as they are.

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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