In what seems to be an expose on eminent media-persons known for their ideological bias and sensational brand of journalism, one Dr. Ajay Agarwal has alleged that Rajdeep Sardesai, Ashutosh (now a politician with the AAP) and Raghav Bahl (operating The Quint) ran a ‘fake sting operation’ against him ruining his life and public image.
A fake sting operation had been aired against Dr. Agarwal in 2006 on news channels, IBN7 and CNN-IBN. These news channels have been re-branded as News18 and CNN-News18 respectively. In the baseless and fake sting operation, he had been declared guilty of amputating limbs of healthy people in order to plunge them into begging. The news traders had started branding him as ‘shaitan doctor’ meaning devil doctor. Subsequent probes however made it clear that the sting operations were fake and the doctor’s innocence was proved.
The doctor claims that he has been fighting to regain normalcy in life and reputation for the last 12 years. However, none of these eminent journalists have bothered to apologise despite the doctor having been proved innocent in subsequent probes. The doctor has further alleged that his life was ruined by Rajdeep, Bahl and Ashutosh who wanted to create a sensational story so that they could secure higher TRPs for their news channels. Doctor Agarwal has accused not only these three journalists but also the management of the channels that aired the fake sting operation. Apart from this, he has also made accused a reporter, Jamshed Khan who participated actively in framing the doctor in the fake sting operation. Speaking about Jamshed Khan, Dr. Ajay Agarwal refers to him as a blackmailer. The doctor alleges that it was Khan who had conducted the fake sting operation and it was aired by IBN7 and CNN-IBN which were newly launched at that time and were thus hungry for publicity and higher TRPs. Therefore, they continuously aired the fake and sensational story. This ruined Agarwal’s life and even led to an enquiry against him. He was an orthopedic surgeon at Gautam Budh Nagar district hospital at that time.
Dr. Agarwal also stated that infuriated by the fake sting operations, he had approached other journalists also requesting them to intervene and ask the three journalists to tender an apology or at least air the clarification that he is innocent. But none of them proved to be of any help.
He has taken this battle with news traders to the Court and cases against these individuals are going on. A case for defamation will be initiated against nine persons including the three infamous journalists into this matter. The channel had appealed against the trial before the Allahabad high court which had put a stay on the trial against seven individuals. However, the Supreme Court overruled the stay against the seven individuals and now a trial will be started against all those accused for the fake sting operation. There is finally some hope that those guilty of ruining Agarwal’s life and dignity and defaming him for the sake of their own pecuniary gains will be brought to justice.
This makes a strong case against sensationalism, TRP-driven journalism and desperate obsession of a section of mainstream media with sting operations showing half-baked truths. It shows how irresponsible and fake sting operations can claim the life and reputation of an innocent individual. He had to fight for twelve long years and his battle against the “eminent journalists” who had shamelessly defamed him is still going on. The government needs to consider taking extreme measures against such fake and politically motivated sting operations so that, the reputation of any individual does not fall prey to such sensational journalism in the future.