Author: Madhu Trehan
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788174365804
In March 2001, the website Tehelka broke Operation West End, the biggest undercover news story in Indian journalism. Using spycams and masquerading as arms dealers, Tehelka’s reporters infiltrated the Indian government, bribed army officers, gave money to the president of the ruling party and the defense minister’s close colleague right in the defense minister’s residence. This eventually forced both the ministers’ resignations.
In a rigorously researched and searing authentic account of the Tehelka exposé and its aftermath, Madhu Trehan does a forensic study of the imperatives at the root of it, the characters and heroes and villains of the story, and of how the system got back: by obfuscating, by attempting to destroy Tehelka and its investors. Trehan shows how the government used instruments of democracy to destroy the investors without leaving any footprints. In the style of Rashomon, the story is related by numerous participants of the same incidents and, of course, none of the stories tally.
With exhaustive personal interviews, this is a must-read for anybody who wants to understand modern India – or even better, modern international journalism.
Trail Map of Operation West End
1. GRATE EXPECTATIONS
The Breaking Story
2. Kick-Ass Journalism Is Born
3. The Catcher on the Fly
4. THE DEATH OF A SALESMAN
The birth of a journalist
5. WHO IS TARUN TEJPAL?
‘I’m A Mad Punjabi’
6. God of Small Flings
7. Why Do Men Do What They Do?
8. The Errors of Comedy
9. Of Greedy Bondage
10. A Greased Passage to India
11. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Secretaries
12. Thus Spake R.K. Jain
13. The Sureka Also Rises
14. The Feminine Mstake
15. Who’s Afraid of Shaggy (Woolf)?
16. The Minister’s Last Sing
17. Tropic Of Cancerous Corruption
18. The Scarless Letter
19. Enforcement Inferno
20. Why the Caged Reporter Doesn’t Sing
21. Oops, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry
22. Spin the Dog: Doctoring?
23. The Omission of Inquiry
24. Not So Fine a Balance: Ethics and Journalism
25. Ubiquitous Presence of Malice
26. Conspiracy Curry
27. The Aftermath: Shattering Heights
28. The Unbearable Lightness Of Conscience