In yet another outrageous piece The Print, which claims to be a media outlet, has this time come out romanticising an act of spying and sedition by a former Indian diplomat who entered into a love affair with a Pakistani spy. The Print has given this hideous twist to the conviction of former Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta. The former diplomat has been convicted for spying and passing sensitive information to Pakistan’s pro-terrorism intelligence agency, ISI. She was posted as the second secretary (press and information) posted at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and was arrested on April 22, 2010 for passing sensitive information with regard to defence matters to the ISI. It has been reported that she was giving away information about postings, talking place in the defence ministry, the ministry of external affairs and the high commission or India. Apart from this, she also gave away personal information and family particulars of the officials to the ISI causing a serious danger to the lives of officials and their families. It came to light that Madhuri Gupta was in contact with two ISI officials, Mubshar Raza Rana and Jamshed. She had been honey-trapped by Jamshed and was even planning to marry the ISI official. In July 2010, she was charge-sheeted by the Delhi police for passing sensitive information to the terrorist country. Later on, it was also discovered that she had also visited Jammu and Kashmir on the instructions of Mubshar Raza Rana in March 2010. The visit to Jammu and Kashmir was planned with a view to procure the Annual Plan Report of the state as well as gaining information about a proposed hydro power project in the state slated to be set up by 2020.
The court had charged the former diplomat with criminal breach of trust, conspiracy and the provisions of the Official Secrets Act. On Friday, she was finally convicted for compromising national secrets and spying. The court, while giving her maximum possible sentence under the relevant provisions, observed that given her stature and educated background, she deserved no leniency. It is clear that she fully understood the consequences of her act and therefore, is not entitled to any mercy.
It is both shocking and unfortunate how a diplomat compromised with national security. However, what is even more shocking is how The Print being a media channel is giving a soft yet insidious twist to the entire story. Even though The Print story tries to be narrative in parts, the focus of the story remains on the love affair between Madhuri Gupta and ISI agent, Jamshed. The title of the story itself “Falling in love with Pakistani spy cost Madhuri Gupta reputation, career and 3 years in jail” tries to give an impression that she was jailed merely on the ground of relationship with the Pakistani spy without any evidence. The Print also feels that the entire incident makes a plot for a bollywood movie. This is senseless and low class journalism in really bad taste. However, what is being reported by other media outlets makes it crystal clear that there was clear proof of her passing on sensitive information to the ISI. The Print has cunningly and skillfully cast aspersions on the authorities. The story uses clever techniques to discredit the conviction. For instance, it says that “It is believed she began to pass on information”. This at a time when a court has affirmed this fact, there is not mere belief or suspicion but on the basis of confirmed facts.
What The Print has done is not journalism even in a loose sense of the term. There are certain limits that must not be crossed. It is ridiculous that The Print tried to create a love story out of a clear case of sedition.