While the Moneylife report on the construction of a post-retirement bungalow for Pratibha Patil in Pune became viral in social media, the President's office came up with a denial which did not address the core issues, but was carried faithfully by the mainstream media
When the Moneylife report on the construction of a post-retirement bungalow for president Pratibha Patil in Pune President Pratibha Patil grabs 2,61,000 sq ft of land meant for soldiers and officers hit the internet running, it became viral in the social media, attracting even more damaging information on the activities of the president and her immediate family in Maharashtra. The mainstream media was slow to react, despite constantly being needled in the social media for ignoring what was public knowledge in Maharashtra. Eventually the president's office came up with a denial which did not address the core issues, but was carried faithfully by the mainstream media. Meanwhile, out there in Pune, the truth is out there to be seen. Can anybody stop the truth from coming out in this day and age of internet? With this report we have pictures of the president’s bungalow under construction.
It doesn’t get higher than the president, in India, and in what appears to be an unwritten law with the mainstream media in Delhi, you don't persist in saying or writing anything about the office and the persons therein which can even remotely be considered to be demoralising or dishonouring. This could be in exchange for the typical quid-pro-quo arrangements that exist in Delhi with such things or born out of traditions going back to a day when feudal and colonial practices were justified. But times have changed.
And nobody brought this out better than Vinita Deshmukh of Pune, a regular columnist for Moneylife, winner of the Chameli Devi Award for journalism and fearless to her own truths to a point where the typical pressures that emanate in and from Delhi, didn’t really impact what is rapidly becoming a report with no previous parallel.
In a situation where corruption in high places is becoming the major issue in India, it is expected that the president and her office take extra special care to stay clear of even the least taint or suspicion. On that count there is still no cogent explanation or response.
Based on more inputs, it remains to be seen whether these questions will be answered or not, either through the RTI route or directly, and much of how the people of this country hold the high office of the president will be decided by that. That is the point that Ms Deshmukh’s report brings out in a straightforward article based on facts which only Moneylife had the guts to carry.
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