Adani’s takeover of NDTV shows immediate payback

Journalist instructed to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s press conference resigns

Sohit Mishra Mumbai bureau-chief of NDTV resigned on being instructed by the channel's editor in chief Sanjay Pugalia to disrupt Rahul Gandhi's press conference in Mumbai on 31 August 2023 Image via Ground Report from Twitter
Sohit Mishra Mumbai bureau-chief of NDTV resigned on being instructed by the channel's editor in chief Sanjay Pugalia to disrupt Rahul Gandhi's press conference in Mumbai on 31 August 2023 Image via Ground Report from Twitter

Tanishka Sodhi of Newslaundry reported on 11 September of an incident in Mumbai on 31 August when Adani appointed editor-in-chief of NDTV Sanjay Pugalia instructed two journalists to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s press conference in the city. According to a Newslaundry source at NDTV, Pugalia apparently instructed two of his journalists including the Mumbai bureau chief to “create a ruckus” and “change the narrative,” at the press event.

The press conference by Gandhi was to again call for a joint parliamentary committee probe over the Adani group’s stock manipulations from 2013 to 2017. While on the one hand, the local regulator SEBi’s probe into the charges made by the Hindenburg report has thus far seemingly exonerated the Adani group, renewed interest in the affair arose in the last week of August from the possibly incriminating details obtained from the OCCRP and shared with the Guardian and the Financial Times. Essentially the trail of shell companies, two proxy investors, and the Indian market regulator SEBI’s alleged oversight of the Adani Group was in the eye of yet another storm as the conglomerate rushed to defend itself. Apparently, its recently acquired NDTV media platform attempted to help out with its editor and chief instructing his reporters to disrupt the Rahul Gandhi press conference.

While the stories by the Guardian and The Financial Times launched the usual political war of words and name-calling that represents a substantial part of the Indian democratic discourse these days, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s press conference on 31 August at the Hyatt Regency took place on the sidelines of the opposition INDIA bloc’s Mumbai meet. Gandhi renewed his party’s demand for a joint committee probe, claiming the “country’s reputation was at stake.”

Around 300 media persons, from both national and regional publications including Sohit Mishra, NDTV’s Mumbai bureau chief, attended the press conference. However, hours before the event, Mishra had been allegedly asked by the channel’s editor-in-chief Sanjay Pugalia to disrupt Gandhi’s press conference, by creating a ruckus in order to change the narrative of the event, according to Newslaundry’s sources. Pugalia joined the network as its chief after Adani’s AMG Media Network took over NDTV. On the other hand, and to his credit, Mishra has apparently submitted his resignation to the network.

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