Just when you thought that no awards ceremony can be worst than that of Bollywood awards, the ENBA awards have discovered a new low as India Today journalist Rajdeep Sardesai won multiple awards for his ‘journalism’ in a year where he was suspended by India Today for his coverage of the Republic Day violence.
Rajdeep Sardesai took home a battery of awards at the recently concluded ENBA awards. The serial propagandist won Best Anchor, Best News Coverage: National, Best Talk Show, Best News Coverage: International and Best Business Programme categories in English.
These awards will no doubt help save Rajdeep’s rapidly plummeting career with the alleged journalist only resuming his primetime show recently after being kicked off air by India Today.
Rajdeep Sardesai had gone on a rampage on Republic Day, alleging that the farmer who died during the violence at ITO was, in fact, shot by the Delhi Police – an unsubstantiated claim made with no evidence to back it, propounded by the very people who were causing anarchy to spill onto the streets of Delhi in the first place.
India Today had then taken Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai off the air for two weeks after his misreporting on a violent agitator’s death during the tractor rally. Further, the alleged journalist has also been stripped off his salary for one month – perhaps a first in the media industry. Sardesai had, in a Tweet, said, “One person, 45-year-old Navneet killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain.”
Post his tweet, the Delhi Police soon released the footage of the incident, which was followed by another tweet from Rajdeep Sardesai where he was forced to admit that the protestors were caught red-handed lying, although he did not say so in as many words. Social media has been replete with calls from ordinary citizens, who are demanding stern action against the journalist for lying through social media and also on national media.
Recently, Sardesai was acquitted by a Hyderabad court after he issued an apology in November last year for reporting fake news on Sohrabuddin’s alleged encounter killing.
Sardesai issued an unconditional apology to the court for a programme he had run in May 2007, titled ’30 Minutes – Sohrabuddin, The Inside Story’, as Editor in Chief of CNN-IBN.
In the programme, Rajdeep tried to frame Gujarat government, which was then led by Modi and Shah, and Rajiv Trivedi, who was then part of the Hyderabad Special Investigation Team probing the Sohrabuddin case. PM Modi was then CM of the state and Amit Shah was the home minister.
“Police sources say Vanjara and Pandian nabbed Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi in Bidar with the help from SP Rajiv Trivedi of the Hyderabad Special Investigation Unit…Rajiv Trivedi provided cars with fake number plates in which Sohrabuddin was brought to Ahmadabad and then killed in a fake encounter,” read the program.
Later the Andhra Pradesh government filed a case against Rajdeep Sardesai and ten reporters of CNN-IBN. Sardesai filed an affidavit in the court, issuing unconditional apology, which read, “I further submit that I also realise that there is nothing to substantiate the allegation that Rajiv Trivedi provided cars with fake number plates in which Sohrabuddin was brought to Ahmedabad and then killed in a fake encounter which news telecast by us about Shri Rajiv Trivedi, IPS was also false.”
In the year 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh was shot down by a group of policemen in Gujarat. The police claimed that Sohrabuddin had an association with Lashkar-e-Taiba and also the ISI. According to the police, he was planning a communal chaos in the state of Gujarat and assassination of an important political leader. It was claimed that the encounter of Sohrabuddin was a fake one and the home minister of the state Amit Shah directed the killing of Sohrabuddin, his wife and of Tulsiram Prajapati, the witness to the incident. The case was later investigated by the CBI.
One must also not forget his interview of Rhea Chakraborty in the wake of the tragic demise of Sushant Singh Rajput where Sardesai took journalism to an unfathomable low.
Despite having arguably the worst year of his journalistic career, the fact that Sardesai swept most of the awards on offer at the ENBA, expose the lack of credibility of the awards.