– Middle Eastern businessperson being planted by RAW as front man to purchase Geo group
– Raw funded Sony TV and Zee TV of managements playing vital role in deal
– Geo TV’s top officials travelled to Mumbai along with ME investor last month
– Geo team included Mir Ibrahim, Babar Javed and Kamran Hafeez
– Sony TV and Zee TV personalities also included in the game for technical assistance
– Sony TV’s Trishikha Ashish Tripathi also interviewed by expected new management of Geo
– RAW having notorious history of manipulating media both inside India and abroad.
– Prominent Indian researcher Satish Chandra confirms RAW’s deep involvement in media
– Meetings were held under supervision of Joint Secretary ( Area-I) , Joint Secretary (Area II) of RAW, Joint Secretary E T section and Sanjeev Tripathi, former Secretary RAW
– Snajeev Tripathi is the founder of Aman Ki Asha project
– Self exiled media tycoon is back in country to sign certain documents with regard to the new deal
From Christina Palmer & Anjali Sharma in New Delhi and Kapil Verma in Mumbai
In a plan to repair the damage, caused to their covert association with Pakistan’s Jang/Geo Group due to a series of events in the recent past, Indian officials at the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) have decided to purchase their covert media arm in Pakistan and that too through a third party arrangement, reveal the investigations of The Daily Mail. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that after the series of events starting from September/October 2013 when top Indian newspaper Hindustan Times exposed the links between Indian Intelligence and Geo/Jang Group up to a dramatic attack on a Geo TV’s anchorperson in April this year, RAW bigwigs developed a feeling that their covert nexus with that media group in question was exposed very badly. It was decided at a very high level RAW meeting in which former RAW Chief Sanjeev Tripathi was also present, that Geo should be given a face saving to establish that it has no more links with RAW. Insiders inform that during the meeting, Sanjeev Tripathi, who is now a member of India’s ruling party BJP, was asked to create a comprehensive proposal to tackle down the issue.
Sources say that Tripathi, in the very first place, expressed his deep dislike over the RAW’s April episode through which Pakistan’s ISI Chief was targeted. Tripathi termed the episode as a huge blunder and said it was done in a very crude manner while the same could have been materialized in a much secure and professional way.
It is worth mentioning here that during his tenure as RAW Chief or secretary RAW, Tripathi remained very instrumental and desperate to enhance funding and ties not only between RAW and Indian media but also to create RAW’s media arms out of Pakistani media and is considered as the founder of several media projects including Aman Ki Aasha. He made efforts towards Aman Ki Asha even before assuming the top seat at RAW headquarters.
The sources close to the affairs reveal that after Tripathi agreed to rescue RAW in the backdrop of his experience in this direction, he flew to UAE and held several rounds of talks with self-exiled Pakistani media tycoon and held deliberations over the situation emerged. These sources say that Tripathi asked the Pakistani media tycoon to follow the proposals that he had brought from New Delhi.
The sources reveal that these proposals suggested that the Geo management should first create a campaign to show that it was suffering from huge financial crisis due to wrath of ISI and Pakistan army and should also hold protests and rallies in this regard. This campaign should end by announcing that it was left with no other option but to sell the rights to a third party.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that Tripathi managed to agree a Middle Eastern businessman who has a huge business network in UAE, India and South Africa, to come as a front man to purchase Geo TV. Tripathi ensured the said ME businessman that all the funds for the purchase and at least three years funding of entire running operation would be arranged from India (RAW) and he will just have act as an independent media boss. Sources that Tripathi’s idea of bringing up a ME businessman to head RAW’s covert media arm would remove all the clouds over the RAW-Geo nexus and would make the media organization look more credible.
The sources reveal that once the basics of the deal were settled down, the son of the self exiled media tycoon, in early August embarked upon a visit to Mumbai along with a three member team from his media group and a four member team of the Tripathi-created buyer from ME.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that at least three rounds of meetings were held at Mumbai between the foreigners and RAW officials as well some media experts from Sony TV and Zee TV, both the RAW funded media organization of India. However the high profile meeting was held at RAW headquarters in New Delhi which was attended, besides others by Sanjeeve Tripathi, Joint Secretary Area One( Pakistan), Joint Secretary Area Three (Middle East and Africa) and Joint Secretary of Electronic Technical Section of RAW.
This meeting also favored the idea of smartly concluding the Aman Ki Asha campaign as it had completely lost the credibility, due to cheer mishandling after Tripathi left the Chair of the RAW Chief. During this meeting, a rather rough shape of the plan was modified while the dates and agenda for the next meeting were also fixed.
Intrestingly, during the meetings between the Pakistani and Middle Eastern parties and RAW funded Indian media experts, Sony TV’s host Trishikha Ashish Tripathi was specially interviewed by the visitors as it was advised by Indian media experts to organize a show run by. Ashish Tripathi on Pakistani TV channel in question and through this show, 2 nation theory may further be targeted while hiding behind the notions of freedom of press.
According to certain unconfirmed reports, the self exiled media tycoon is back in Pakistan these days on a rather secret trip to sign certain documents with regard to this new deal.
A facsimile of Hindustan Times’ report about RAW, Geo nexus.
The findings of Daily Mail further reveal that RAW controls a whole paraphernalia of media network including ZEE TV and Films Network, Asian News International (ANI), as well as some national and regional language newspapers especially in Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil and Kashmiri. The ZEE network retains the pivotal position in this RAW controlled propaganda and misinformation spiral. It was actually RAW that has been the master mind behind the establishment of ZEE Television Network. According to our sources the proposal for establishing a private sector television channel actually under the control of Indian intelligence agency was first presented to the Late Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The proposals could not materialize at that time as Mrs. Gandhi had certain reservations about giving more powers to RAW for she suspected it of being behind her earlier electoral defeat at the hands of another Late Prime Minister of India Mr. Murarji Desai. However, Indian movie star Amitabh Bachan who was a personal friend of Rajiv Gandhi got the cue. His brother later reportedly siphoned part of the Rs.64 crore kick-backs of the Swedish Bofor guns deal into setting up a private satellite channel by the name of TV Asia.
TV Asia enjoyed certain patronage from Indian government and intelligence agencies though it was financed privately. In return RAW enjoyed certain leverage on TV Asia; nonetheless its officials continued the campaing for having their own channel. The breakthrough was achieved when a high ranking RAW operative Vasant Parekh found a willing partner in the Chairman of Essel Group of Industries, Subash Chandra. The Essel Group was mainly involved in the business of entertainment and amusement parks. Being an adventurous entrepreneur, Chandra indicated his willingness to Vasant Parekh for investing partly in the RAW’s satellite TV venture provided it also shared a big portion investment and backup support. RAW hierarchy did not require much persuasion to dole out a hefty amount of US$ 25 million as an initial participation share in the project. The deal was struck and the ZEE Television Network was formally launched in 1992 with Subhas Chandra as the Chairman and Vasant Parekh as the founding member on its Board of Directors. It was agreed to induct and employ a certain number of RAW operatives in all cadres of the network. RAW personnel were thus recruited amongst the programme producers, anchors, newscasters, and even amongst the marketing and business managers. The arrangement facilitates RAW to send its agents undercover to Pakistan and even other countries. Having a media tag gives these operatives an easy access to cultivate a number of personalities in the target country, which would have been otherwise difficult. The broad outline of the propaganda objectives of ZEE TV defined by RAW were:
– Undermine the ideological frontiers of Pakistan through oft repeated Indian rhetoric of cultural and social uniformity of South Asian sub-continent;
– Malign Pakistan by a deliberate negative projection of the events and developments in the country. The aim was to systematically build a poor image of Pakistan may it be in the context of internal political developments, religious or social events, women issues, child labour, brick kiln workers, Ahmedi or Christian minorities, secretarian clashes, Mohajar ethnic movement, foreign policy or bilateral relations with India. Although human rights violations, social, cultural, religious and economic problems exist at a much gigantic proportion in India these were to be downplayed in Indian context;
– Projection of India as a modern secular and progressive state which is the world’s largest democracy;
– Propagation of India’s foreign policy objectives and its position on Kashmir;
– Promotion of Hindu mythology through serials based on mythology as well as soap operas telecast on the network;
In pursuance of this policy ZEE lays special emphasis in cultivating prominent personalities in Pakistan for accomplishing the ideological agenda. Bigwigs in Pakistani entertainment and show biz, poets, writers, eminent sportsmen and politicians are a prime target. The common modus operandi is that Pakistani celebrities are invited as chief guests or special guests to various ZEE programmes. A lot of praise is showered, calling them artists whose talent is not restricted by any boundary, frontier or divide and that the people of the two countries love each other, only the politicians conspire to keep them separated. Overwhelmed by the tremendous show of hospitality the artist either ends up unwillingly endorsing the host’s views or says something that is construed to be negating the ‘Two Nation’ basis of Pakistan’s independence. According to credible information RAW also sponsors organizing of performances, shooting of videos and securing of contracts for Bollywood movies and entertainment agencies for some of these personalities belonging to the Pakistan entertainment, film and music.
The Daily Mail has learned that RAW’s further tightened its noose on media during the first government of BJP under the then Minister for Information and Broadcasting Parmod Mahajan. RAW had in the meanwhile already taken control of the struggling television news agency Asian News International (ANI) founded by an ambitious cameraman Prem Parakash. When the agency ran into financial troubles RAW came forth to help it with idea of producing South Asia News line which all the Indian entertainment TV Channels not producing their own news bulletins were force to telecast. Parmod reportedly threatened these channels with the sweeping powers under the PRASAR BHARATI (Indian Broadcasting) ACT, 1990 Chapter IV, 23; “Power of Central Government to give Directions” if they did not comply. Even his successor Sushma Swaraj has been calling shots at the media also making coercive use of the draconian Indian National Security Act, 1980. Three Advisory Bodies have been pivotal in this regard to streamline m. The DFF amongst other things virtually controls the films dealing with news, current events and documentaries. RAW has a permanent representation on this Committee which can use any pretext to penalize channels not receptive of its directives.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that the enormous success of ZEE in South Asia and Middle East encouraged its sponsors to target the Asian viewers in Britain and Europe. The prime objective was to disillusion the expatriate Pakistanis and Kashmiris from their ideological basis. Britain being the home of largest Kashmiri refugee community outside Asia has become a cause of concern for the Indian establishment. The growing influence of Kashmiri community in the political circles of UK, their frequent protests over the human rights violations in the Indian held Kashmir and demand for the right of self-determination for Kashmiris is often embarrassing for the Indians.
ZEE UK was therefore launched in 1995. The ZEE’s strategists, however, realized that Braitain and Europe was a different ball game. To lure the Pakistani expatriates it was decided to telecast a mix of Indian and Pakistani programmes. It is learnt that a team was sent to Pakistan to negotiate the purchase of PTV programmes for telecast on ZEE UK. ZEE was able to procure from the PTV library many classical dramas, the most recent hit telecasts, musical programs, special occasions telecasts for Eid, Muharam, Ramadan including and other purely Islamic religious programs. These programs were reportedly sold to the ZEE at throw away prices. The PTV establishment of the time credited itself for having sold the programmes with no other clientele. Little did they know the diabolic use that ZEE had planned for these programs. However, PTV authorities maintain that some of its programs were recorded off air by a Lahore based spurious company and sold to ZEE TV. Subsequently PTV obtained a court injunction to stop ZEE from telecast of some of its programs. Nonetheless this gap is now filled by the private productions that have mushroomed in Pakistan over the last few years.
The ZEE UK program managers ran an extra-mile in their endeavours to establish it as a neutral TV of the entire South Asian community in Europe. The propaganda against Pakistan was deliberately kept sublime in the initial year of its launching. However, it continued its policy of reporting negative developments in respect of Pakistan and black outing positive aspects may it be as non political news as winning a cricket match by Pakistan. Nonetheless, ZEE’s one sided hype during events such as the Kargil conflict gave away any semblance of neutrality that the channels had been portraying.
RAW prolific media network however received a setback when its sponsored Reminisce Television Network (RTN) could not succeed in UK and Europe. The free to air transmission of RTN’s Channel Asia 1 could not get enough advertisements due to overcrowding of the market by many Asian Channels. The RTN also had an Urdu Channel ANJUMAN to target Pakistani viewers besides Gujarati, Lashkara (Punjabi), Bengali and other regional language channels. RAW later took control of Sony TV as well through massive funding.