Satish Verma: Is Praveen Swami Intelligence Bureau’s crazed Journalist Mole?

No, no, no. Not even for a minute I am suggesting that he is. Haven’t I inserted a “?” at the end? That should tell I am merely expressing my doubt without an iota of evidence. The big trouble is that most readers would naturally assume that Swami is a crazed mole, especially if there is no dénouement right at the beginning that author is asserting no such thing as I have done. The declaration has to be right there at the top, because in the age of attention deficit most readers don’t dive more than three or four sentences below the headline. That too would happen if the headline arrests attention and compels a second look. Headlines are often structured for the required effect, but then the damage they cause is irreparable. That is what Swami’s recent article, Ishrat Jahan case: Is Satish Verma a crazed conspiracy theorist?, did on First Post.
Swami correctly observes, “For the same reasons that we’d be sceptical about a well-known misogynist’s investigation of a rape case, or a committed bigot’s inquiry into a communal riot, we ought subject the CBI’s findings to very careful attention”. I would in fact go a step ahead, all government actions must be viewed suspiciously until their bonafide is proved beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, CBI investigation should be no exception to this rule. However, he asserts this towards the end of his article, where it is likely to remain buried and undisturbed most of the time, while his egregious insinuation “I’ve a public opinion on these beliefs—and a private one, too, on the malign long-term effects of undergraduates smoking too much pot” stands proudly beside the only photograph in the article. Swami’s insinuated charge of Satish Verma’s “pot-laden craziness” is entirely based on believing completely every word of aletter written by a bureaucrat, R V S Mani”, who was interrogated by SIT-CBI on 22nd June 2013 at Gandhinagar. He does so impressed by what he calls, Mani’s Zen response to this nonsense suggests he is a mature, calm person. Swami may have an agenda to stake in such a cavalier fashion his “reputation” as a journalist on the line, but what the agenda is would become clear only when we get to know how such “confidential documents” are regularly leaked when he is in the midst of shoring up Intelligence Bureau’s reputation. He managed a leak in Home Ministry to get the NIA document, and here Mani’s leak occurred from the “Land and Development Office” of the Ministry of Urban Development. It is a letter written by Mani to his bosses in the ministry complaining about his troubles during CBI interrogation.
Now that Swami has made the letter public, an investigation must be ordered into the serious charges leveled by R V S Mani on Satish Verma. He ends his article thus: “We don’t have the privilege of knowing whether the bureaucrat’s recollection of Verma’s comments are accurate, since Sherlock Holmes declined to comment on the issue. It’s time the CBI director, though, did some explaining”. “Holmes” is a mock allusion to Verma, who was compared to the fictional character by what Swami calls one gushing media account. Well, the CBI director has not talked, but hadCBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra issue a clarification on 12thJuly, much before Swami wrote on 15th July for First Post.
It is strange that when CBI clarified on 12thJuly that “Mani was examined by the Chief Investigating Officer of the agency only in reference to MHA file on which decisions relating to file affidavits dated August 6, 2009 and September 29, 2009 were taken”, Swami still marches on regardless as if no such clarification was issued. It is possible that CBI is lying and Mani is telling the truth, but wouldn’t an honest journalist make a mention of this? There is more damning evidence against Mani’s letter-testimony and Swami’s “potty” belief in it. Times of India reported on 14th June 2013 that CBI had removed IPS Satish Verma from its probe team on Thursday, 13thJune.
If Satish Varma was removed from the SIT-CBI probe team on Thursday, 13th June, then how could he have been present on 22nd June –more than a week later- to question R V S Mani? Verma was removed, TOI report says, because of “growing concern in the Intelligence Bureau and home ministry over the direction of CBI investigation in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case involving IB special director Rajinder Kumar”. With such “high profile concerns” it appears highly unlikely that Varma would be “illegally” present during Mani’s interrogation. The leaked letter of R V S Mani is certainly a handiwork of a सरकारी बाबू (a government servant) going by the style of writing employed; but only time will tell, if at all, who has the truth? But before that First Post and Praveen Swamy have lot of explaining to do.
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