Rajya Sabha TV has always been known to be a shoddy organisation with all its limbs engaged in corrupt practices, particularly under the guidance and protection of former Vice President Hamid Ansari. Ever since the Modi government took charge in 2014, and started probes into the working and expenditures of RSTV, Hamid Ansari has been feeling insecure in India. Now, in a final blow to what Ansari considered his legacy, the Modi government has decided to merge both Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV into one entity, which will be called ‘Sansad TV’. The same was announced by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat’s office on Monday.
RSTV was the brainchild of Hamid Ansari and carried forward deceitful transactions, engaged in corruption and showcased only one ideology with the channel’s target audience being one specific community. TFI, as early as 2017 itself, had reported extensively about the money-gobbling and shady organisation that RSTV was. The Modi government’s decision to merge both LSTV and RSTV into one entity is a very wise one. It shall keep the executive management, staff and editors of Sansad TV in check.
RSTV was established to cover the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha in 2011 using Parliament’s Sansad Cable Network with a modest budget of Rs.1.55 crore. However, it was soon revealed that then Vice President Hamid Ansari was solely behind the ideation of the channel and turned it into a money guzzler and a corrupt entity. The initial cost to set up the channel was estimated to be around Rs. 28.94 crore, but the figure has shot up to astronomical amounts since the channel’s inception.
The budget of RSTV has been bigger than any government channel, and it also did not generate any revenue since it showed no advertisements. As of 2015, RSTV spent a whopping Rs.1700 crore, a sum bankrolled by the taxpayers’ money in its entirety. As of 2017, the annual budget of RSTV stood at a staggering Rs 69.28 crores, which was five times more than that of LSTV. Who was the CEO of RSTV when such a loot was being effectuated by the proxies of Hamid Ansari, you may ask?
None other than Gurdeep Sappal – the right-hand man of Ansari and also previously his Officer on Special Duty (OSD). He was appointed to the top post without any advertisements calling for interested candidates to apply for the job.
But that’s not all. RSTV has worked beneath the thumbs of many different fools looting the government while operating as a channel carrying forward the Congress’ ideology of soft-Islamism. Around 2017, a movie named ‘Raag Desh’ based on Subash Chandra Bose and the Lal Qila trials was produced with a budget of Rs.13 crores. Little did people know that the movie was a creation of RSTV and the capital for the movie was provided by the taxpayers. Amrita Rai, the wife of Congress leader Digvijay Singh, too played a prominent role in the running of RSTV and made merry on taxpayers’ money. She also acted in Raag Desh, and along with Sappal, allegedly looted crores of rupees for the promotion of the film which fell flat in the theatres.
Hamid Ansari, who also served as the head of RSTV, blatantly promoted favouritism by hiring journalists who are loyal to the Congress party. The likes of M K Venu and Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editors of The Wire, were paid extravagantly by RSTV at Ansari’s behest, to the tune of Rs. 15,000 per appearance, totalling Rs. 33 lakh and Rs. 14.70 lakh respectively. Do we still need to spell out from where such money was sourced? Romila Thapar and her ilk were appointed as the advisors at RSTV.
The Modi government, well aware of all these malpractices and corruption prevalent at RSTV, decided to do away with the cancer of an organisation it has become. One can expect Hamid Ansari to not only feel insecure in India but now, also workless.