Nidhi Razdan, a graduate of the NDTV school of clowns thought she was getting hired as a professor at Harvard. Yes, Harvard. Not Amity, IPU or DU, a Harvard and that too over telephonic interviews.
To be honest, I got internships through a much more cutthroat recruitment process.
Anyways, Almost a year ago, we at TFI reported how Razdan revealed that she was scammed into believing that she has been offered a teaching position at Harvard University.
Well, now, coming to her rescue, New York Times has published a full, feature-length report. Talk about privilege, huh? Quoting NYT verbatim, it took them almost a year to cut through the clutter to investigate the case.
NYT might be racist, xenophobic, partisan or several hundred mean things but it sure did good, insightful investigative reports in the past. After all the same publications unearthed several big political scams in the last few decades.
So, I dived into the exposed piece of who tried to scam our ‘dear Nidhi’, thinking NYT must have nabbed the culprits, and all we as readers had to do was pull the trigger.
However, turns out, the article is as bad as my 5-year-old niece drawing a photo of me at a family gathering. I’m forced to applaud her but deep down I know she shouldn’t try as an artist in the future.
Coming to the article which is aptly titled, ‘That Job at Harvard? It’s Not Real’, and written by a big team of three members, one sees the shade of poor and amateur journalism.
The scammers sounded Pakistani, had UAE numbers
The article concedes that the identity of the scamsters is not known and that BJP leader Nighat Abbass had warned about the scam. Moreover, the article says that a phone number’s location was in UAE and one even guy “sounded like a Pakistani” while an IP address was traced to an ISI hacking group. And yet, the blame is squarely piled upon the Modi government, not directly, but you get the gist of how NYT insinuates things, right?
The article repeatedly uses the term ‘Hindu nationalist’ while referring to the Modi government and BJP, making a clear insinuation on the political leaning of the unknown culprits.
I continued to read, after all, I am an Agatha Christe fan and whodunits excite me. However, the article never got over the narcissism of its writers who somehow felt invincible for having ‘investigated a scam’ which no one really asked for.
It felt like I was reading a poorly crafted Indian comic in the late ’90s which plagiarized the content from a much superior western comic.
The article mentioned that Nidhi was not the only target but unfortunately was the sole victim.
The targets of the scam
According to NYT, the first known target was The Wire journalist Rohini Singh, who was contacted by one Tauseef Ahmad claiming to be from Harvard University.
Tauseef and Singh got chatting but even the alleged 2BHK did her investigation and came to the conclusion that it was a scam and ceased communication. Imagine a person who serenades Akhilesh Kumar knowing it was a scam and still backing away but NDTV alumni, not understand.
The article continues and states that the next target was The Print Columnist Zainab Sikander. Sikander ignored that the numbers were not from Boston as the scammers claimed and that they sounded Pakistani.
She continued the conversation. However, when she repeatedly asked for a formal invitation and the scammers failed to furnish one, even Zainab ceased all communication channels.
A BJP spokesperson targeted as well
While everything up to here was the filler, the main spice came when NYT mentioned that the fourth target was BJP spokesperson Nighat Abbass. I mean, the conversation of the entire scam being plotted by a Hindu nationalist government falls flat when they start targeting their own? But NYT said, “nahh, it will be fine!” And continued to blame the Modi government.
In fact, Abbass was the one who first alerted Harvard about the scam. All other targets in the scam are journalists heavily critical of the BJP and Modi govt, therefore Nighat Abbass stands out as the odd one.
Abbass had posted a video on Twitter on November 29, 2019, detailing the scam being conducted by Tauseef Ahmad. She had said that Tauseef can be a scam-master or even maybe a terrorist, and it is a serious threat to people because he was trying to misuse the personal information of his targets.
So @tauseefahmad9 Cheating in the name of @Harvard @Kennedy_School
Potential Big Scam/Terrorist Threat
Kindly investigate @bostonpolice @FBIBoston @realDonaldTrump @foxnewsalert @NIA_India @DoughertyJC @ANI @KimberlyBookman @PTI_News @IndiaToday @TimesNow @usnews @AFP @HMOIndia pic.twitter.com/9Beu703xE9
— Nighat Abbass 🇮🇳 (@abbas_nighat) November 29, 2019
However, Nidhi proceeded with the scam and in a pompous tone announced that she was leaving NDTV to go teach at Harvard. Throughout the intervening months, Nidhi proudly paraded her new Harvard job around.
It is notable that the scamsters had made Nidhi Razdan install Team Viewer on her computer, which allows remote controlling of a computer, enabling others to access files and install the malware in the target computer.
NYT consoling Nidhi
If one thought NYT was an independent media organization that didn’t believe in people worship then please hear this joke of a paragraph, describing their cute victim and the protagonist of the article.
“Over a career spanning more than 20 years, she had covered India’s biggest stories as the country transformed itself into an economic powerhouse. She was polite but fearless, the anchor of the 9 o’clock news program on NDTV, one of India’s most prominent independent news channels, a familiar face across a nation of 1.4 billion people.”
I nearly popped my neck vein, laughing my guts out reading this romantic prose piece. And the conversation did not stop here. Nidhi shared the article on her Twitter account and started fielding sympathy statements from a bunch of strangers.
One Dushyant said people owed Nidhi an apology to which she replied with a heart emoji.
For having a chuckle, which we all are well within our rights. My grandfather who is entering his 8th decade on the planet does not click on shoddy links, after being advised once and having learned WhatsApp only a year ago.
And yet, a supposed journalist with 20 years’ worth of experience fell prey to an elaborate conman scheme when three others escaped from it unharmed.
Nidhi was not outdone by the scam artists, she was outdone by her overconfidence in her abilities. She thought she could be a Harvard member without having the desired qualifications for it. Mam, we will respectfully ask you to get a few more degrees under your belt in addition to a diploma course of ‘How not to get scammed on internet 101’ before you apply for Harvard again.
As for NYT, the less said the better. The fall from grace for NYT has been catastrophic and wasting a year and resources investigating a case, only to draw a conclusion that the victim was an idiot, does look pretty bad on the publications resume.