Archive for the ‘ Business ’ Category

Con Artist Arindam Chaudhuri

The Caravan Dec 2010 Coverstory IIPMWas watching CNN IBN debate yesterday and was flabbergasted to see the pony-tailed crusader of quality education, Arindam Chaudhuri at his animated best. The obnoxious creep who has made a fortune off the aspirations and insecurities of India’s middle classes and who believes that all his students should pay a fortune to ‘study’ at IIPM, has filed lawsuits against publishers Penguin; magazines The Caravan, Just Another Magazine and Careers360 Magazine; authors Siddhartha Deb, Maheshwar Pai, Rashmi Bansal and even Google India on charges of “publishing, distributing, giving coverage, circulating, blogging the defamatory, libelous and slanderous articles.”

IIPM had earlier filed a lawsuit against The Caravan seeking damages to the tune of Rs. 500 million, in Silchar, Assam. Not in Delhi, where both the IIPM and the magazine’s publisher, Delhi Press, are based, but 2,200 km away from Delhi, 300 km from Dispur, Assam’s capital. The IIPM filed the case at the Court of Civil Judge in Silchar district, through one Kishorendu Gupta, who operates Gupta Electrical Engineers in a Silchar suburb, and is the first plaintiff. IIPM is the second plaintiff.

On Feb 14th, 2013 IIPM managed to have a directive issued by a Court in Gwalior. In pursuance of the court directive, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued an order directing Internet Service Licensees to block access to 78 URLs from India, 73 of which contained such criticism directed towards IIPM, ex-parte, without any pre-hearing notice. As a writer I am shocked how IIPM was able to play and cobble together a bureaucratic system of dealing with the Internet much worse than the censorship in place in Peoples Republic of China and thought that it will be appropriate that I too should contribute to my views.

I seriously wonder how a fraud like Arindam Chaudhuri is able to bend the system like this. Am sure in the coming days questions ranging from whether the court has the legal authority to give such an order to purge websites, especially of official organizations like University Grants Commission (UGC) to whether the order is flawed from lack of fair hearing opportunities given to parties affected, will be answered.

The most important point that was missed in the boisterous debate was that one of the URLs mentioned in the DoT order was a public notice given by UGC, dated July, 2012 confirming the unrecognized status of IIPM.

Mr. Arindam Chaudhuri accept it, you can make glossy brochures but the fact remains that IIPM is not recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which is the competent authority regulating Indian institutes of higher education. You better not count your chicken before they hatch!!!

Picture Courtesy : The Caravan (Dec 2010 Cover Story “Sweet Smell Of Success”)

In defence of a journalist Julian Assange

Hillary Clinton recently made a little joke about WikiLeaks during the Kennedy Center Honors. Clinton said she found it extraordinary to greet so many talented people. She then said: “I am writing a cable about it, which I’m sure you’ll find soon on your closest website.”

At one level the United States leadership is trying to trivialize the Secret US Embassy Cable leak by the whistle blower website WikiLeaks but at another level, living in a pretense, that it has nothing to do with the arrest of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julain Paul Assange, in London. But I am amazed at the backboneless response of the American and world media against the arrest of Assange. On the contrary the American media is filled with all sorts of stories about Assange. This is the same media houses that had fought for TRPs in the run up to the war in Iraq and Afganistan and had egg on their face when Assange published his story about US involvement in the Wars earlier this year.

Some of the stories that is doing round are really ridiculous and have no relevance to facts about his arrest. The 39 year old Assange, born in Australia, apparently had a ‘sad childhood’ as his mother had an abusive second marriage. She had to run away from her second husband along with his half brother to protect them from abuse and custodial battle. Assange moved  schools through his childhood because of this.

In 1987, after turning 16, Assange began hacking under the name “Mendax” and he and two other hackers called themselves the “International Subversives”. Surprisingly no mention is made that Mendex means “nobly untruthful”. There was also no mention of the fact that Assange wrote down the early rules of the group: “Don’t damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don’t change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information”. And most ridiculous of all is that Assange basically is a “reckless and dangerous” computer hacker and “not a journalist”.

Assange founded the website in 2006 and serves on its advisory board. After Amazon refused to host the WikiLeaks website he set up his server in a wartime bunker in Sweden to broadcast his scoops. Since 2006 Assange has lived a nomadic life, living out of his bag and moving from one country to another.

He has been involved in publishing material about extrajudicial killings in Kenya, for which he won the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award. He has also published material about toxic waste dumping in Africa, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Association influencing policy making decisions of the WHO, insider trading program at JP Morgan, Guantanamo Bay procedures etc. Earlier this year he published Iraq War Logs and Afghan War Diary, classified details about United States involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then, on 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and its five media partners began publishing secret US diplomatic cables.  This sure effected the diplomatic grandstanding that US is used to and US today accuses Assange of jeopardising its national security by releasing a flood of confidential diplomatic documents.

As I write this article Assange has been transferred to the segregation unit of Wandsworth prison, south London, where the authorities are planning to give him limited access to the internet and is awaiting extradition to Sweden in connection with four allegations made by two women – complainants identified as Miss A and Miss W.

The complainants Miss A and Miss W were volunteers who worked with WikiLeaks and there are 4 charges filed against Assange in Swedish Court.

  • The first charge Miss A alleges that she was victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of August 14 this year in Stockholm.
  • The second charge alleged Assange “sexually molested” Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her “express wish” one should be used.
  • The third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on August 18 “in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity”.
  • The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on August 17 without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

Am sure these are serious charges against Assange. But wait a minute the two volunteers claim that the sex was consensual (not rape) and their charge against him is on the use of condoms. Oh My God so now it is their word against Assange’s on the use of protection during consensual sex.

I believe, journalism must empower and educate, not titillate and trivialize. Having said that I am also not a big fan of “Mendax” Julian Assange but firmly believe he sure has the “nose for news” that journalists are trained for. I am confident every journalist across the globe would have loved get their hands on the WikiLeaks documents and videos.

Few things that still beats me how is it that a team of 5 and few volunteers have managed to release to the public domain more suppressed information, at that level, than the rest of the world press combined. And also why US, the unipolar super power, which boasts of being in the leadership position of the Free World, should hunt down someone who has released information, though classified, when you, as a country could not protect it in the first place.

Photo: Courtesy Getty Images

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Hall of Shame – Mumbai

Fighting against Pakistan in Kargil the one who died was Army Javan
But in Mumbai one who got his flat is Ashok Chavan

This son of soil Ashok Chavan
oversaw the creation of Adarsh Society at Colaba
While father S B Chavan
oversaw the demotion of Babri Masjid at Ayodya.

 But like father, like son
They truly believe it is impossible to stand for an election any more
unless you have robbed a bank or extorted a builder.

This is the sad truth about the commercial capital of India – Mumbai