Ram, Chairman of Kasturi & Sons Limited and Publisher of ‘The Hindu’, has declared that there is “no evidence” against his old time friend- P Chidambaram. In a meeting of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC), organized to condemn the arrest of Chidambaram, N Ram played the role of investigation officer as well as judge. He said that a “monstrous injustice” has been done against P Chidambaram, who is in Tihar, and higher courts need to be criticized for that.
P Chidambaram is a longtime friend of N Ram and both were co-founders of socialist journal Radical Review in 1969. P Chidambaram and N Ram were born in Tamil Nadu in 1945 and have known each other since school and were college friends. Both studied at Loyola College, Chennai and Presidency College, Chennai. N Ram also claimed to introduce Chidambaram to Communist stalwart Prakash Karat in Madras in 1968.
This is not the first time when N Ram used his family owned newspaper, The Hindu to defend the Congress when it’s in trouble. He has repeatedly used the newspaper to spread leftwing propaganda, defend leftist leaders, and attack right wing parties and leaders.
As Editor in Chief of The Hindu (since 27 June 2003 until 18 January 2012), N Ram turned the newspaper into an apologist for former Congress Telecom minister A Raja, who was an accused in the 2G scam. Brother of N Ram and editor at The Hindu newspaper, N Ravi wrote, “A. Raja, the prime facie of 2G spectrum scam published an interview in defence of the telecom licensing policy- a direct quid pro quo in the form of a full page, colour advertisement from the telecom ministry that was specially and hurriedly cleared by the minister personally for publication on the same day in The Hindu.”
N Murali, the second sibling of N Ram also pointed out the ‘double standards on display at The Hindu’, under the leadership of N Ram. The rift over professional ethics and managerial control of The Hindu newspaper resulted in the resignation of N Ram as Editor in Chief. The family still has a major disagreement over the control of Kasturi and Sons Limited, the company that owns The Hindu Group with shareholders who are mainly the family members.
Just as N Ram came to the rescue of the Congress when the 2G scam made headlines in 2012, in 2019, very close to the Lok Sabha elections N Ram dipped his feet in the witchcraft around the Rafale defense deal, which had been projected as a scam. N Ram published a series of articles on the editorial page of The Hindu, and alleged corruption of thousands of crores on Modi government. As always, N Ram appeared to be playing the role of the last resort of the Congress, and he compromised his journalistic ethics as well as The Hindu newspaper’s, only to influence the Supreme Court ruling on the matter and to earn brownie points for the Congress before elections.
N Ram claimed that the Rafale aircrafts were bought by Modi government at a price 41 per cent higher to the market price. However, the article falls flat on the face of facts. To give a sensational headline, The Hindu did not calculate the escalation in India specific enhancements (ISE) and kept it flat for the price calculation in 2007, 2011, and 2015. In the headline, it was prominently highlighted that the deal was 41 per cent but in subsequent paragraphs, N Ram himself writes that after the escalation addition, the Rafale price is just 14.2 percent higher. N Ram also used rookie tricks to create suspicion about the Rafale deal, like cropping the images of official documents to present an incomplete picture. These lies were busted when the Defence ministry released the same documents in their entirety.
N Ram wanted to turn Rafale deal into a major scandal, the articles were published on The Hindu a few months before the 2019 general election, to generate maximum controversy and malign the image of Modi government. Ultimately, the government got a clean chit from the apex court, and the issue ended politically after Modi government registered an even bigger victory in 2019 elections, indicating that the masses also did not buy into N Ram or the Congress’ claims. N Ram’s antics must deprive him from any journalistic credibility as he has failed to uphold the required standards. Bound by habit, he has now geared up to use the Hindu as a propaganda tool to save P Chidambaram, who has been arrested recently in a money laundering case.
The left-liberal media establishment of India forms the epitome of hypocrisy. The people in this establishment like N Ram often take the ‘high moral ground’ in public, be it on women empowerment, eve teasing, transparency in businesses, crackdown on black money so on and so forth. But when it comes to adhering to these principals in personal life or office environment, they violate almost every rule of these principals.
The high moral ground taken by the left-liberal media establishment remains in front of the camera. In backrooms they behave as tax evaders, money launderers, sexual predators, sycophants and what not. This establishment is responsible for informing the public, and in creating the public good, they must shed their biases and their personal dealings. The interesting thing is they cry foul and ‘political witch hunt’ when some legal action is taken against them. The establishment pleads for freedom of the press whenever their corporate wrongdoing is exposed but it is difficult to expect objectivity from these tainted media houses.