November 7, 2017
‘Tehelka’, news portal had shot to fame with a sting operation on Defence deals during the NDA regiem.
On Monday, a letter written by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi to then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in 2004 surfaced .
Letter asked him to look into the allegations of harassment of the financers of ‘Tehelka’, a news portal that shot to fame with a sting operation on defence deals when the NDA was in power.
The letter dated 25th September 2004, said that the directors of First Global alleged harassment by some agencies under the Finance Ministry.
“I’ve been informed that this matter has already been discussed in a high level meeting & certain corrective measures have been agreed to. I’d like you to look into these issues on priority in order to ensure that no unfair & unjust treatment is meted out to these petitioners,” the letter said.
“My noting on the letter is correct. I am certain that on behalf of the ministry, I’d have sent a reply based on the material put up to me,” P. Chidambaram told a news agency.
“The letter of Mrs Gandhi & my reply should be read together, I suggest that media may ask the govt. to release the reply to the letter,” Chidambaram added.
‘Tehelka’ magazine had “exposed” alleged corruption in the defence deals during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA govt. which later resulted in the resignation of then defence minister George Fernandes.
The then BJP president, Bangaru Laxman, who was caught taking money on camera, was convicted later.
Following the expose, a no. of cases were registered against promoters of First Global – Devina Mehra & Shankar Sharma, by various investigation agencies.
When UPA govt. assumed office in the year 2004, Mehra & Sharma wrote a letter to Gandhi, who was the chairperson of the National Advisory Council with the rank of a Union minister, alleging that persecution by the agencies was continuing even then and sought redressal.
Appending First Global’s letter, Sonia Gandhi on her official letterhead wrote to Chidambaram asking him to look into the issue on “priority” in order to ensure that “no unfair & unjust” treatment is meted out in the case.