Why It Matters That MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar Got Stories About Him Taken Down

Posted by Rohan Seth in Politics, Staff Picks
March 8, 2017

Two stories were pulled down by The Wire following an ex-parte order of temporary injunction sought by Rajya Sabha Member Rajeev Chandrasekhar. The stories, which are since available on a Czech archiving website here and here, will tell you how war and continued conflict with Pakistan (that Chandrasekhar has been pushing for) will boost Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s commercial interests in defence manufacturing and media.

In other words, what if I told you, Chandrasekhar can influence the national narrative on Pakistan, monger for war through his media outlets, call for an increase in military spending and also manufacture and supply the equipment which is required for the same war. Basically, he can have the cake and eat it too.

From L to R: A tweet by The Wire after the articles were taken down; Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor – The Wire.

To briefly explain the content of the stories, they highlight how Chandrasekhar has investments in defence manufacturing companies and the media, while also having a position in the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence 2015-16. This, along with his close ties with the NDA Govt. amounts to conflict of interest and is a clear cut example of profiteering on war and hyper-nationalism by taking over the State, as per the stories. This is extremely problematic and can have far-reaching consequences. Let me first list down the facts, according to the stories by The Wire, that are important to keep in light while you come to your conclusions.

1. Although Chandrasekhar was elected to the Rajya Sabha as an Independent, he is the Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Alliance in Kerala. He is also a part of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence which gives him access to sensitive information.

2. He has investments in of Axiscades Engineering Technology Limited – a company that “provides technology solutions to aerospace, defence, heavy engineering, automotive and industrial production sectors”. According to the report by the Wire, AxisCades reported that it won a contract from the Ministry of Defence. Read the aforementioned reports for full details.

3. In October 2016, Newslaundry reported that Jupiter Capital (owned by Chandrasekhar) Chief Operating Officer Amit Gupta sent an email to the editorial heads of media outlets owned by Jupiter that “All Editorial talent to be hired with a summary of bio to be sent to CXO office for views and guidance. The candidate should be;-  right of centre in his / her editorial tonality- Pro-India, Pro-Military,- aligned to Chairman’s ideology,- views and should be aware of his governance reforms;- well familiarised with his thoughts on nationalism and governance”. This statement was later retracted by Gupta.

4. Chandrasekhar has investments in Malayalam news channel Asianet News, Kannada news channel Suvarna News, web portal Newsable and newspaper Kannada Prabha and the soon-to-be-launched Arnab Goswami led TV news channel, Republic TV.

5. Chandrasekhar introduced a private member’s bill to declare Pakistan a terrorist state which called for the snapping of all cultural, economic and trade ties with Pakistan and it wouldn’t be erroneous to infer that he essentially called for continued conflict with Pakistan.

Keeping the listed facts in mind, you know something is rotten in the “think about the soldiers” sermon when the establishment wants to profit on our soldiers. So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future where Chandrasekhar’s media will spew out a self-serving hyper-nationalism, polarize people and make money on it.

Welcome to the future, where we’re practically doomed if this is not nipped in the bud. Welcome to the future, where Chandrasekhar and the likes could have the supreme ability to affect our day-to-day lives and we’ll be mere powerless pawns. This is the filth and grime of crony capitalism and as a country, we’re deep into it now.