Monday, October 31, 2011

Trysts with MSM - Part 18 - CAG and 2G scam

MSM stands for Main Stream Media

The series returns back after a long time :) The delay is not because I have stopped asking them questions. The delay is because they have stopped responding to those questions!

CNN-IBN's National Bureau Chief, Bhupendra Chaubey tweeted about his show on Ra.One and said that he was getting lots of feedback. So I asked him if he ever responded to feedback. He replied this:

@ssudhirkumar I used to respond a lot to u, then stopped because u started indulging in destructive criticism, m all for constructive points

The "destructive criticism" he was talking about is here. Anyways, about the same time he also tweets about this "breaking story"

Breaking at 6: CAG's can of worms, its getting murkier, fresh details accessed by me show that there was no consensus on the 2G report

So I ask him back :

Was there ALWAYS consensus at your work place on what to report? @bhupendrachaube ofcourse, you wont answer this Q.

To which he replies:

@ssudhirkumar lack bof consensus if different from allegations of coersion, of course u won't understand this

What he meant was "lack of consensus is different from allegations of coercion, of course u won't understand this"

Well, he first said "lack of consensus" and my question was based on that observation. He then changes the point to "allegations of coercion". I asked him back about this inconsistency. Ofcourse, no reply.

Let's take a quick look at his "breaking news". Here is the report on IBN website -

First off, Bhupendra fails to mention that CAG gave a total of 4 estimates of losses. The range is Rs. 57,000 crore to Rs. 1,76,000 crore. Check this report of the CAG available on their website. The last page of the "Executive Summary" section (just before Introduction) gives us the the table of how the 4 estimates were arrived at. And the entire report explains in detail how the numbers were arrived at. But our news channels are content with just mentioning the upper limit.

The scoop by Bhupendra Chaube is that the Deputy CAG has written to the lead auditor, R.P.Singh (who signed the above report) saying that they are not happy with the way the audit is being conducted. The lead auditor replied back in a 2-page note (quite interestingly, the full letter is not yet available to the viewer. I asked them, but as usual no reply). What we have is only a quote from that letter wherein the lead auditor is hurt at the accusation that he is not properly auditing.

Nowhere in the whole report by Bhupendra, is there one proof of the lead auditor being told to toe the CAG line. Nowhere in the letter is it shown that the lead auditor was asked to sign off on the Rs.1,76,000 crore amount. But then, for our national news channels, these facts matter little. There has been a disagreement, and therefore that is huge news for them. In which institution are there no disagreements? How many times have we disagreed with our bosses?

Now here comes the interesting part. "Ex-CAG babu stands by 2G loss figure" in the Times of India. The lead auditor wrote to the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament of India, saying he did sign the final document.

"While indicating that he did not intend to support attempts to question the CAG findings, Singh told the panel he had signed the final report. He has denied reports quoting him as questioning Rai's decision to go ahead with assessing presumptive losses ranging from Rs 65,000 crore to Rs 1.76 lakh crore"

Read that full report. Now guess which channel didn't report this rebuttal by the lead Auditor. CNN-IBN !

Monday, October 3, 2011

Break for a month

I will be travelling this month, and hence will not be able to regularly update the blog. A break for about a month :). Wish you all a happy dushera and deepavali.

Happy Holidays :D

Some thoughts on KBC :)

For the past 3-4 weeks, I have been watching Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)-5 in awe. Sometimes the episode gets very inspiring too. And the reason is simple - the nature and the background of all the contestants on this show. The past 4 seasons of this show had mostly contestants from a normal background leading a decent life with not too many troubles throught their life. This season has opened up a totally different window. We could get to hear the story of an young man who met with an unfortunate accident and got paralysed neck down. His poise despite such a catastrophy was such a delight to watch. He won Rs. 12,50,000/- that night, and the sense of achievement and pride in his and his father's eyes is difficult to describe.

We have even got to see and learn about the lives of housewives; teachers from rural areas;physically handicapped yet mentally strong people; folks from small towns; folks with jobs that don't pay much (especially the guy who picks calls for ambulance service... remember him? :) He asked 3 interesting questions to Amitabh himself!!) - in total, we got exposed to a whole new world out there. A world most of us thought is difficult to exist. I don't mean to say that we did not know such people existed. What I meant is that most of us surely did not know that these people also read a lot, discuss stuff and have a good amount of information on general/current affairs. And this is despite their living and growing up conditions - I think that is the biggest reason I have been in awe of this season.

Not just their stories, but even the way they conduct themselves on the show has been very nice. And I must say, Amitabh Bachchan as the show host has been very very gracious while interacting with these contestants. The subtle humour that flows from both the contestants and BigB, all along the program has been another treat.

Maybe a few might feel that this season is more like a melodrama. But what I got to see was reality - the harsh reality under which these folks live their life everyday. Listening to the accounts of tragedy in some of the contestant's lives just confirms how unpredictable and cruel life can be. I don't wish to lecture and all that, but I think watching these folks on TV only strengthened my belief that as long as we are capable of doing good, we should continue to do it. Making a difference in just one life is a feeling that will stay with you for life - we only need to put in a little extra effort to experience that feeling :)