Life & Personalities

A Thin Red Line

I don’t really understand why it is so shocking for Vasu (Sreenivasan Jain of NDTV) that LaMo (Lalit Modi) has a customized cigarette brand which sports his own picture on the box. After all he is the executive director of Godfrey Phillips!!!!

I’ve to call Vasu out (who I hold in very high regard as an investigative journalist) this time though for his most recent blog on in what comes across as a juvenile stunt to besmirch somebody who he has felt aggrieved by . The usage of phrases like the ‘dinner with the proverbial devil’ and other terms emblematic of dismay which amply demonstrate his frustrations at being denied the all so precious interview.

Why cite the incident involving the waitress at breakfast and make it seem like LaMo is a supercilious character who has scant regard for the working class Joe and Jane? What relevance does that have with the interview or none thereof?  I think in my limited memory involving high end restaurants and fine dinning establishments I could come up with a preponderance of incidents where I thought the behavior of certain patrons to be condescending and disrespectful toward the staff of these fine establishments. Do these isolated acts of condescension (in my opinion) then make each and every one of these patrons abhorrent, self-serving, duplicitous characters predisposed to criminality?

‘He knows Amal Clooney and jet sets around the globe.’ So what?? He has the money (ill-gotten or not still an open question) and if that begets him unfettered access and kinship with the rich and the famous then so be it. ‘He lounges around in an exclusive Montenegrin resort and sips cola in his t-shirt and shorts by the pool.’ I think this is an attempt to build-up LaMo as the typical flush with pelf, running from the law yet defiant high-flyer who has fallen from grace but still steadfastly maintains his devotion to pleasure. “You look like the monk who sold his Ferrari” . Again this snide remark made by Vasu after LaMo had purportedly changed from his t-shirt and shorts to resort wear in a blink of the eye to appear on camera with perhaps an intention to show LaMo as the consummate two-faced conman/chameleon who was able and willing to put on many avatars to bamboozle not just the law but the public at large.

Last but not in the very least, the quoting by Vasu of LaMo’s repartee about LaMo still having a Ferrari . This obviously another attempt to materialize for his readership the fact that LaMo amongst the jet-setting, resort hopping, celebrity hobnobbing was also plonking the allegedly ill-gotten wealth on expensive cars and what better car to cogently incriminate an ALLEGED outlaw with other than than the iconic Ferrari.

Why this rush to judgement by one of the media when the organizations who should truly be pursuing his alleged misappropriation of funds, alleged violation of FEMA, alleged illegal disbursement of funds to parties and illegal investments overseas are either dragging their feet or passing the buck at this time. (A separate topic for a separate time)

Then again, I don’t think in the very least that this is a case of an overenthusiastic investigative journo who is convinced of the subject’s guilt owing to his coming upon a smoking gun during his investigations and thus using his craft to call his subject out. It is very much though a case of reprisal for a lacerated ego acquired  as the direct result of a combination of sour grapes (although he denies it is in his blog) perceived rejection and deep seated prejudice. Strong words these that I’m acutely aware of but I genuinely feel it is the case.

Sadly, this opinion piece penned by Vasu  reeks of his frustrations arising out of the non-materializing of the interview the reasons notwithstanding. Why this attempt to damn somebody in the court of public opinion?  When does one stop being a responsible and calibrated  journo and start becoming a rambunctious tabloid trooper?

Let me be not misconstrued. I’m no LaMo fanboy. I’m not in the least saying that LaMo is spotless and maybe far from it but then again the last time I checked in India a man is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. I do not have any sympathies for LaMo and perhaps the old adage of “there is no smoke without fire” holds true in this case. I would like to see the government in power and the current dispensation pursue LaMo’s alleged misdemeanors vigorously and to the fullest extent of the law of the land and bring him to justice if he is indeed guilty of the charges that have been leveled against him.  That being said, what Vasu has attempted to do with his recent blog is to subliminally influence the readership by painting LaMo as the kind of individual who possesses and also brazenly displays the traits that more often than not constitute a criminal. This is a dangerous precedent that other journalists would do well to avoid. It is after all a very thin line between objectivity and fabrication. Leave the commentary in the safe hands of the commentators.

Sreenivasan Jain sounds like a kid from whom someone snatched their candy!!!! What say you?