Journalism in Goa

About journalism and media issues in Goa... all views welcome. Everything but slander can be discussed here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Churchill Alemao named in TV-sting operation... Mayabhushan's innovative work unnoticed in Goa?

Congrats Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, one of our young and intrepid colleagues from Goa... who incidentally has had to face harassment from editors in this state too for some of his earlier endeavours in Goa!

Unfortunately, in Goa, many viewers have probably this story on STAR TV, since the channel is currently not being shown in parts of the state due to some dispute over broadcast rights and payments. --FN - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Another sting exposes scam in use of MPs' funds

By Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) A week after a sting operation exposed 11 MPs who took cash to raise questions in parliament, a TV channel Monday aired footage showing parliamentarians discussing kickbacks to release officials funds for developing their constituencies.

The Star News channel claimed its reporters were able to obtain assurances from several MPs - including Chandra Pratap Singh of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Churchill Alemao of the Congress and Parasnath Yadav of Samajwadi Party - that they would provide money from the MPs Local Area Development scheme to fake NGOs for a 'commission'.

Responding to the expose, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, a stickler for rules, said he was 'ashamed' at this latest revelation of corruption among MPs. Last week, Chatterjee had said he was saddened by the cash-for-questions scam, a sentiment also expressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Members of both houses of India's parliament can provide up to Rs.20 million a year under the scheme to fund projects in their constituencies like building of roads and schools and setting up of computer centres.

Alemao, who represents Mormugao constituency in Lok Sabha and is a former chief minister of Goa, was shown in secretly filmed footage saying he would release Rs.1.5 million - if he was paid a commission of Rs.300,000 - for setting up a Konkani library in his home state by a non-existent NGO called Ashraya Abhiyan.

But Alemao later became suspicious of the reporters involved in the sting operation and refused to go ahead with the plan.

Chandra Pratap Singh, one of the 11 MPs exposed last week in the 'cash-for-questions' scam, was shown allegedly accepting Rs.25,000 from Star News reporters for similarly releasing funds to a fake NGO.

He was told by the reporters that the payment was part of the '20 percent commission' demanded by him for releasing Rs.500,000 from the development funds.

The reporters were also shown having discussions on similar lines with Ramswaroop Koli of the BJP (who represents Bayana in Rajasthan in the Lok Sabha), Isam Singh of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Sakshi Maharaj of the Samajwadi Party (both Rajya Sabha members from Uttar Pradesh), and Faggan Singh Kulaste of the BJP (Mandla-Madhya Pradesh in the Lok Sabha).

Parasnath Yadav of Samajwadi Party was shown getting angry after the reporters apparently failed to make a payment of Rs.50,000 he had demanded.

Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh said in an immediate reaction to the sting operation that Yadav had been asked to resign from the party. Amar Singh urged other parties whose MPs were named in Monday's expose to act against them.

There were also MPs like Tufani Saroj of Samajwadi Party (who represents Saidpur seat of Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha) who steadfastly refused to accept the kickbacks offered by the reporters, and asked them to visit his constituency to discuss what development projects they could carry out.

Star News said it had conducted the sting operation over the past six months.

The Rajya Sabha has suspended the lone member of the upper house involved in the cash-for-questions scam uncovered by Internet portal and Aaj Tak news channel, while a Lok Sabha panel will decide on the action to be taken against 10 members of the lower house involved in the scandal.

More MPs caught taking bribes on camera

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 19, 2005 20:20 IST

Hardly had the furore over Operation Duryodhan by, in which 11 MPs were caught on tape taking bribes for asking questions in the Parliament, died down another sting operation by Star News channel is likely to create another storm in Parliament on Tuesday.

Operation Chakravyuh organised by two journalists Jamshed Khan and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, both former journalists, has caught several big politicans off guard while demanding commission for getting work done or showing undue favour to an NGO, which had floated fake projects for developmental works in their respective constitutencies.

Amongst those who had been shown were Shakshi Maharaj and Paras Nath Yadav, Samajwadi Party MP from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh.

While Shakshi Maharaj wanted a commission of up to 45 per cent, Yadav even wrote a letter to a district magistrate which he withdrew later since he was not given the promised money. "You do not have the guts to leave Rs 50,000. Bring the rest of the money to get the letter," he is quoted a saying on the tape.

The expose promises to expose a former minister in the National Democratic Alliance and a Congress member as well.

"The team has been working on the sting for the last six months. One former NDA minister, one former chief minister of Goa, and five Members of Parliament have been caught on camera," Milind Khandekar of Star News told