Media honchos in massive public spat
Media houses usually have a cold war going on between them regardless of the area of their coverage. The phenomenon has been observed in international media and national media and now the regional media has taken the stage. Whenever there are clashes between two media houses, it is not expressed directly or publicly but this particular case has gone many steps ahead with two media barons locking horns in a vicious public spat. Sanjive Narain, chairman-cum-managing director of Prag News, has accused Manoj Kumar Goswami, editor-in-chief of DY365 of having indulged in corruption and acquiring property worth several crores of rupees through blackmail and other illegal means.
On 6th September, Narain reeled off allegation after allegation against Goswami while addressing newsmen in the city. “Goswami was in debt of Rs 2 crores in 2007 which was back in the days when he was the proprietor of a local newspaper. It was reported that the debt had increased by several crores of rupees after he left the newspaper,” mentioned Narain. Narain threw light on several other issues saying, “I, along with Goswami and another associate had started a campaign for which Goswami had arranged for a plot of land near Bamunimaidam Industrial Estate. During the campaign a building was also constructed on the said plot. However, due to several disputes, the campaign was dissolved following which Goswami snatched ownership of the plot out of which, on this date, a news channel and a newspaper are functioning. He has also invested an amount of Rs 25 lakhs in Guwahati FC through cheque.”
Addressing media persons, Narain mentioned that Goswami joined DY365 in 2009 against a salary of Rs. 1 lakh. Questioning Goswami’s morals and integrity, Narain said that if his salary is considered he should have been able to acquire a property worth only Rs 48 lakhs over the past seven years. However today, there is no estimation of the properties owned by him. Apart from owning a house worth crores in Kainadhara with another being under construction, Goswami owns properties at several places such as an apartment in Sravana Enclave near passport office at Walford, a plot in Bonda, Panikhaiti, 30 bighas of land near Kaziranga and another 5 bigha plot in Bonda. Narain also presented a video footage during the press conference that showed the properties owned by Goswami. Narain mentioned that Goswami had filed a police complaint against the journalist who had gone to capture the footage of his residence.
“Goswami displays footages of others’ bedrooms in his news channel, but when our journalist went to take footage of his illegally acquired property he tried to get our journalist arrested by using his clout in the police,” Narain stated adding that the senior journalist has also been involved in the appointment and transfer of several police officials. He also mentioned that he will disclose several other investigative reports against Goswami in the near future.
“I urge the government and all the departments to investigate the properties owned by Goswami. I am also willing to co-operate if similar investigation is carried out against my property. I will gladly disclose my property. During the Congress government, Goswami had harassed me and several other businessmen and since now he is not being able to do the same, he is becoming increasingly apprehensive. I challenge Goswami to publically disclose his properties and come clean if he can,” Narain stated.
“I have ten different businesses and I am willing to disclose all my properties. I agree if someone says that I have houses at ten different locations but if anyone can prove any kind of corruption against me I will give up all my businesses. However, Goswami is only dependent upon his salary and it is certainly not possible to acquire such a lot of properties through only his salary. I urge the income tax department to enquire into the matter and to carry out a high-level inquiry on him,” Narain added.
Stating that Goswami is no longer a journalist and has outstripped as a businessman, Narain alleged that the properties owned by the editor-in-chief in Kainadhara actually belongs to the government and he has acquired the properties through his unethical resources. It was also alleged that Goswami has acquired ownership of two apartments from the housing department. Narain questioned as to how can one person be allotted two residences from the housing department and has urged an inquiry into the matter.
Narain’s accusation did not come to an end after focusing on Goswami’s property. His crackdown on the editor-in-chief took a major turn when he mentioned that Goswami had informed an extremist organisation to stalk Narain. Narain also stated that Goswami had conspired with a former DGP and a businessman named Rana Zaman to kill him off. He also stated that Goswami had used a renowned actress as a shield and had been blackmailing a construction company. He further mentioned that Goswami also tried to wangle a restaurant in Nagaon that is owned by actor Jatin Bora’s wife. However, he did not succeed. Narain mentioned that he will come up with several other evidences that will bring to light several other misdeeds by Manoj Kumar Goswami.
Meanwhile, when contacted by G Plus, Manoj Kumar Goswami declined to respond to the allegations. He however mentioned that he has filed defamation charges on Narain.