Former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar announces plunge into electoral politics

Panaji, Nov 12 (IANS): In what could be a worrying sign for the Goa BJP, former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, an arch rival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Sunday announced his plunge into electoral politics.

The announcement comes at a time when the the state BJP as well as the BJP-led coalition government in Goa are facing immense flak over the continuance of ailing Parrikar as Chief Minister despite being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer for the last nine months.

“I will be actively working for the Goa Suraksha Manch,” Velingkar told reporters in Panaji.

Asked if he would be contesting the upcoming by-polls in Goa’s Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies which have been necessitated due to resignations of Congress MLAs from both seats, Velingkar said the decision would be taken at “the appropriate time”.

He also said that considering the political chaos in the state, following Parrikar’s illness and comfortable numbers in the Assembly still eluding the BJP, the Goa Assembly would be dissolved and fresh polls would be announced in Goa along with Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Velingkar, 66, has served as the state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief for more than two decades and is considered responsible for the political grooming of the state BJP’s top leaders including Parrikar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

He was sacked from the RSS in 2016 after he took on Parrikar, who Velingkar accused of backstabbing the principles of both the Sangh as well as BJP.

Velingkar later founded and mentored the Goa Suraksha Manch, a right-wing conservative political party which considers the BJP its key rival.

Source: IANS

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar To Chair Two Meetings At His Residence Next Week

PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will chair two official meetings at his private residence in Panaji next week, an official in the chief minister’s office said today.

Since he was discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi and returned to the state on October 14, Mr Parrikar has been recuperating at his residence.

The agenda of the cabinet meeting, to be held at 5 pm on October 31, is yet to be decided, the official said.

He will also chair a meeting of the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) at his residence on October 30 during which certain investment proposals would be discussed, the official added.

The Goa chief minister is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi.

Source: PTI

Goa Congress seeks appointment with Manohar Parrikar, demands CM meet Opposition leaders

The Goa Congress Sunday said it would seek an appointment with ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to apprise him of how BJP leaders and state bureaucrats were taking “advantage” of his absence from office.

Congress’ Goa unit spokesperson Swati Kerkar said the chief minister’s office and the BJP have been claiming that Parrikar’s health was improving but appointments sought by her party had been denied on health grounds.

The Opposition party leaders have a right to meet the CM. Why are we being denied an audience with the CM of the State. If the CM can supposedly chair a meeting of the Investment Promotion Board via video conferencing, why can’t he meet a couple of Opposition leaders. For the last two months, the CM has not met any Opposition leader, the Congress said.

Parrikar is suffering from a pancreatic ailment and is currently being treated at his residence here after returning to the state on October 14 from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“We want to bring to the Chief Minister’s notice how his office and the party are taking undue advantage of his absence to threaten staffers whose family members are associated with the Congress,” Kerkar said.

She alleged that the state administration had “collapsed” and bureaucrats were taking advantage of the situation as there was “no one” to hold them accountable.

“Today, if the Chief Ministers health is improving and he is clearing files and chairing meetings through video-conferencing, then the Congress delegation should be allowed to meet him,” Kerkar said.

with inputs from NDTV

NY Times takes up ‘Fishy’ Rafale deal, says Modi’s image as incorruptible destroyed, predicts a “tough one” for Modi in 2019 polls

The article, titled “With ‘Fishy’ Jet Deal, India’s Opposition Finally Lands a Blow on Modi, says that the deal has caused a great deal of damage to Modi’s incorruptible image.

America’s top newspaper The New York Times has called the Rafale deal “fishy” in a recently published article.Stating that the deal has finally given a chance to the main opposition party, the Congress, to land a blow on PM Modi, the newspaper said that for the first time in last four years, the opposition parties have been able to “build a damaging narrative and land a solid punch” on Modi.

“For several years, Indian politics have been dominated by Mr Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, which has grown accustomed to pushing around its rivals,” said the article, published on October 6.It added, “But for the first time in a long time, the opposition, by building a damaging narrative around this arms deal, has landed a solid punch, and is hoping to keep the pressure on Mr Modi and his party ahead of next year’s general election.”

Taking note of accusations being leveled by Congress, the article went on to say, “Congress Party officials have dominated headlines and social media with their accusations that Mr. Modi inflated the price of the aircraft, estimated to cost $8.7 billion, and brought in a trusted ally on the deal so his political party could get something back in return.”

The article, titled “With ‘Fishy’ Jet Deal, India’s Opposition Finally Lands a Blow on Modi, further says that the deal has caused a great deal of damage to Modi’s uncorruptible image. Quoting Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, the newspaper termed the deal as “fishy.”

Hailing the Rafale deal “a new spring in the step” for the Congress, the newspaper predicted that the Lok Sabha election in 2019 is going to be a tough one for Modi.

Source: National Herald

 

Video tapes in India Today sting reveal how Sanatan Sanstha workers planted bombs

Acquitted of their alleged role in bomb blasts outside Maharashtra theatres in 2008, two sadhaks of the Goa-based right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha have made startling confessions to India Today TV’s special investigation team  about their involvement in the terror attacks.

Set up by a hypnotherapist, Jayant Athavale, in 1999, the organisation ostensibly identifies “spirituality” as its primary goal.

“…[The] aim of the sanstha is to impart spiritual knowledge to the curious in society, inculcate religious behaviour in the masses and providing personal guidance to seekers for their spiritual uplift,” it declares on its website.

The Sanatan Sanstha, with centres spread across Maharashtra, Goa and elsewhere in India, is, however, no stranger to controversy. Its name figured in the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad’s charge sheet for bomb attacks outside theaters and cinema halls in 2008 — allegedly over ‘objectionable’ depiction of Hinduism in certain films and dramas.

All these years, the Sanstha has vehemently denied the accusations.

But now, India Today TV’s SIT has secured evidence suggesting it might have played a role in the attacks.

Suspect in Vashi attack admits role

Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, who was acquitted by the trial court seven years ago in connection with the 2008 bomb attacks in Thane, Panvel and Vashi, admitted on camera that he did plant the explosives.

Identified as a Sanstha sadhak, or a seeker, in police records, Nikam, 45, admitted that the bomb, which was defused by disposal squads, aimed to avenge what he called was “wrongful depiction of Hindu gods and goddesses” in a Marathi play running at the targeted Vashi theatre.

“I was at Vashi. I planted it [the IED] and came out. That was my role,” he confessed to the undercover reporters who met him at his home in Satara district.

“I had planted that one.” Nikam said referring to the explosive planted in Vashi. “In the [Vashi] case in which we were involved, people were parodying our gods and goddesses [in the play]. So we tried to stop it, nothing else.”

“You yourself were involved in it?” the reporter asked Nigam.

“Yes, I was involved in it,” he said. “We had protested over it [the play] but nothing happened so we tried to scare them away and did it this way.”

Nikam also accepted his association with the Sanatan Sanstha, saying he has been its follower since 2000.

“Yes, I am a seeker,” he said, adding that he was a visitor at the Sanstha’s Panvel ashram.

“I used to visit the Panvel ashram but stayed at home. There, I came in touch with others,” Nikam said.

He confessed that the execution of the attack plan was carried out at the sanstha facility in Panvel, Maharashtra.

Another suspect makes explosive claims

But Nikam is not the only accused from the Sanatan Sanstha to admit to his role in terror plots.

Haribhau Krishnna Divekar, a 58-year-old sanstha follower, revealed that his involvement in the 2008 bomb attacks was much larger than what he had been unsuccessfully prosecuted for.

According to the ATS chargesheet, he was a close aide of one of the two convicts in the case. Divekar, however, was acquitted three years after the attacks on grounds of insufficient evidence.

At his home in Raigad, he confessed to India Today TV’s SIT that he had been in possession of explosives — something that the ATS didn’t record in its chargesheet.

“When I went there, police came here and conducted searches and investigation, I handed them what I had with me,” Divekar said.

“What all did you hand over? What did they recover?” asked the reporter.

“That time, there were one-two revolvers and detonators, it is called detonator right, gelatin [sticks] and digital meters. Around 20 gelatins were there and 23 detonators. They took away all those things,” the acquitted suspect revealed.

“Since when did you have it?” the reporter asked.

“It [the explosives] was there for 5-6 days,” Divekar said.

According to the ATS chargesheet, six suspects — Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari, Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, Vikram Vinay Bhave, Santosh Sitaram Angre, Haribhau Krishna Divekar and Hemant Tukaram Chalke — conspired to “strike terror” through planned bomb attacks between January 2008 and June 2008.

On their target were theatres showing Aamhi Pachpute, a Marathi play, and Bollywood film Jodha Akbar, the prosecution said.

In 2011, the trial court convicted Gadkari and Bhave while acquitting the four other suspects.

Source: INDIA TODAY

As ‘Aarti’ Goes Wrong and Gas Balloons Catch Fire, Scare At Rahul Gandhi’s Madhya Pradesh Rally

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had a narrow escape from a freak fire that broke out during a rally in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, reports NDTV.

The Congress chief had held an 8 km roadshow yesterday in the state, where assembly elections will be held on November 28.

A video from the spot showed the sudden blaze as a group of enthusiastic supporters brought a heavy multi-tiered “dia” (lamp) to conduct an aarti of the Congress chief. But the flames touched a bunch of gas balloons that happened to be overhead and huge tongue of fire shot up, the visuals show.

The blaze was out in seconds, but it triggered panic and the people nearby ran for cover.

Mr Gandhi and his party colleague Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia who were in an open jeep a few meters away, were safe.

The superintendent of Police Amit Singh however denied any security lapse. “They were Congress workers… The mandatory 15 feet distance was very much there and there was no lathi-charge … nowhere is it mentioned in the blue book that workers can’t hold balloons and perform aarti,” he said.

There have been frequent allegations of lapses in the security of Rahul Gandhi, who is one of the country’s most-protected leaders.

In April, the Congress had alleged “intentional tampering” of the plane carrying the leader to a political rally in Karnataka and had demanded an investigation.

In its complaint, the party said the aircraft had plunged, listed dangerously to one side and shuddered violently despite the clear weather.

The government has ordered a detailed inquiry into the matter.

Last year, Rahul Gandhi’s security issue had ripples in parliament as the Congress highlighted a stone-pelting attack on him in Gujarat.

In his response, Union Home minister Rajnath Singh had accused Mr Gandhi of violating security protocol on multiple occasions.

Mr Singh said over two years, the Congress leader had carried out 121 planned and unplanned tours. On at least 100 occasions, he did not use a bullet-proof vehicle.

Rahul Gandhi went on foreign tours and informed the SPG at the eleventh hour, creating problems for the officers. Over 2016 and 2017, Rahul Gandhi went on six foreign visits which lasted 72 days. He did not take along his SPG cover on these occasions, Mr Singh had told the Lok Sabha.

Source: NDTV

Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis says Sanatan Sanstha’s ideology is violence-driven and against Hindu Values

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday broke his silence on Sanatan Sanstha and its ideology, condemning the organisation for fermenting and following a policy of violence.

According to a NewsX report, Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government did not take a strict action against the Sanstha, however, it is his government which is making a watertight case against them.

He said there is no pressure on the Maha ATS and he wants the ATS to work hard and plug all the loopholes in the case.

Criticizing the previous Congress-led government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that UPA did not make a strong case against the Sanstha even when the first murder was committed when their (Congress) government was in the power.

Speaking about Sanatan Sanstha’s ideology, Devendra Fadnavis said that their ideology is just to indulge in violence. Their ideology is violence driven.

In an interview to NewsX, the Fadnavis said, “there can be no link with those people who have such ideology.” It is against Hindu values, the CM said.

If you talk about Hinduism, then it’s ideology is to remain tolerant. These people (Sanatan Sanstha) have no ideology because their ideology is violence.

However, the Sanatan Sanstha has always claimed that the ATS or other officials have never named it in the arms haul case.

Previously in August, speaking on the issue of banning proposal of Sanatan Sanstha, Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Deepak Kesarkar said that Maharashtra had not initiated a new banning proposal but only added to the queries of the earlier one which may get lapsed.

However, Kesarkar mentioned that the government can only consider for a fresh ban proposal after the ongoing investigations into the Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare murder cases get completed provided that the links between the accused and Sanatan Sanstha are established.

with inputs from NewsX

Flynn Remedios responds to Altnews.in’s allegations in a one-sided, biased and incorrect article published in undue haste by Alt News

(This email was sent to us by Flynn Remedios – a regular contributor to IndiaScoops.com and our social media expert. We have published it as is)

To

The Editor & Publisher

AltNews.in

 

To

Pratik Sinha

Altnews.in

Dear Pratik,

I am a daily reader of your esteemed website Altnews.in and have great respect and regard for your investigative reporting which has helped unravel and bust several instances of fake news and fake propaganda.

However, I never expected that “one day” I would become a “victim” of your investigative reporting, without you bothering to get any clarification from my end or taking/giving me adequate time to respond to your queries, even if you tried to contact me via any of my social media profiles.

In fact, I had contacted you via your Facebook profile some time ago and requested you to share your contact number as I wanted to discuss a certain story. If I remember correctly – my memory fails me at times as I am getting ‘old’, we even did speak on phone approximately about a year ago.

I am shocked at your story which makes incorrect, wild and highly defamatory allegations against me which have no connection or context with the current situation at hand – the publication of certain articles on a website IndiaScoops.com with which I am editorially connected though not on a daily or regular basis.

Your allegations and references are totally one-sided and biased. Every statement and allegation is totally biased and one-sided and in the interest of justice, I wish and request you to set the record straight and do justice to me.

I have been a journalist for the last 26-28 years. I first started writing for The Daily (during Rajiv Bajaj’s time) and for The Blitz (during Russi Karanjia’s time) as a freelancer, in or around the 1990s, where I covered Politics, Bollywood and City News.

I do not want you to spend your precious time reading my entire bio data, but I have written (as a freelancer or retainer) for Business India, Financial Express, Business Standard etc., on subjects like Information Tech and Finance and publications like Afternoon, Current (Magazine), Mid-day, etc., during 1990 to 1993. I joined Gentleman Magazine and Business Computer (an Indian Express publication) as an employee in 1993-4, before the Express group split into Indian Express and The New Indian Express. I was part of the Nusli Wadia (he was a director on board) core team for a short while.

I covered the Stock Markets for The Asian Age and also did general reporting. I worked (full-time as an employee) with The Sunday Observer, The Indian Express, The Economic Times, Showtime and Island (Magna Group) for varying periods of time. I was associated with The Stock Exchange, Mumbai as an Information Technology analyst and IT auditor and also wrote for the Stock Exchange‘s in-house publications. The concerned people are long retired and some of them may have passed away. This was in 2001-2003.

I have co-authored or ghost written or helped edit/ sub books on IT (C, C++, Network Security) written by the very famous internet guru the late Vijay Mukhi, during 1993-96, under whom I learnt programming languages like C, C++, Assembly (language) etc. I was part of the initial IT industry movement in India in the 1990-1999 with stalwarts like the late Dewang Mehta, Vijay Mukhi, Raj Saraf (founder owner of Zenith Computers) and Harish Mehta (founder of formerly Onward Novell). Due to my association with Vijay Mukhi for 4-6 years, I mastered computers and computer networking and also hacking. I have assisted the Mumbai Cyber Crime cell in 2001 and the IPS College at Hyderabad where I was a visiting lecturer on hacking techniques.

I have also lectured at IIM Ahmedabad on hacking. This can be verified by the news links prominently published on India Today, Times of India, Wired Magazine etc. In 2000-1, I was an adviser to the Maharashtra government on Cyber Crime when most people in India did not know what it was.

I was part of the tech consulting team when the Information Technology Act was first formulated. I am enclosing some links below to prove my claims. Since you have spent so much space on running me down, I think it is just fair that you publish my achievements and detailed tech knowledge as well, or else, I will consider it a fit case for defamation. The articles were published below in 2001. I was a columnist for several publications in 1999 and 2001 on Tech subjects. Some of the links are below:

https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/crime/story/20010827-mumbai-police-catch-two-hackers-boast-internet-is-no-longer-a-safe-haven-for-criminals-774065-2001-08-27

https://www.wired.com/2001/07/india-hackers-scared-straight/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Police-used-third-degree-methods-on-hackers/articleshow/97102008.cms

I was a techno-legal consultant and a practicing advocate as well, for a short while.

However due to personal reasons, I returned my sanad (license to practice issued by the Bar Council)  and stopped practicing law. I still do non-lit work, like drafting or editing and sub-editing plaints and legal notices for several senior counsel in Mumbai.

Unfortunately, most of the news links prior to 2003-5 are no longer online and many of the other websites are non-functional and news portals like The Times of India, The Economic Times, Indian Express, etc., have removed or archived older articles.

I worked with Rahul Mahajan (not officially his company on paper) in a company India Online Network Ltd as vice president projects, for a short while, which can be proved by the article here published in 2001.

http://www.networkmagazineindia.com/200109/case1.htm

I have also worked with the late Pramod Mahajan for a short while

I have worked with the Reliance Group as a freelance consultant, when Shri Dhriubhani Ambani was heading the company in the early 1990s on some very special projects.

The article on Rafale which is at the centre of the storm is based on voice recordings of the concerned persons. Indiascoops.com has proof to prove their claims. And the editor Megha Chaudhary can give you more details on this. I partially worked on this article which was co-authored by 3 people.

I am replying to your individual claims and allegations individually as below: My replies are in red and bold / italics below the text of your story published on Altnews.in.

I kindly request you to publish this clarification as is, since you have given so much space to accusing an otherwise simple, ordinary and aging ‘journalist and publicist’.

The text of the Altnews.in article is reproduced below: 

IndiaScoops is a website that recently came under the scanner after it published a report which claimed that 35 lakh rupees had been spent by the PMO for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga video and photoshoot on International Yoga Day on June 21. An RTI report had subsequently confirmed that this claim is false. This false report was shared by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor among others critical of PM Modi.

The story clearly mentions that it was based on hearsay and speculations made by a PMO source on the telephone. It does not claim to be gospel truth. Also the article clearly states that the alleged amount of Rs 35 lakh was not necessarily spent on shooting the video, but was all inclusive of promotion of the video on various TV channels that ran it prominently. I am not connected to indiascoops.com on a daily basis, though I am associated with them as I handle social media for them and also occasionally write for them on certain subjects. The website indiascoops.com is managed by an independent team of writers, of whom I am one of the contributors and founding members.

This report was refuted by the Government which emphatically stated that it is untrue. On September 24, another article by IndiaScoops was shared by Congress social media head Divya Spandana who tweeted a link according to which ‘two top technical heads at Dassault Aviation’ had spoken to IndiaScoops and claimed that “the entire technical staff team at Dassault Aviation were unhappy with the move to drop the Indian PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd(HAL) and go ahead with Reliance Defence Ltd.”

This article by IndiaScoops served as ammunition for the opposition. Many verified handles on Twitter had shared the link to this article in the midst of the Rafale controversy.

Since IndiaScoops is a website that has been caught spreading fake news earlier, Alt News decided to investigate the origin of the website and the entity behind its operation. What we found was a complex maze of dubious websites and user accounts with shadowy operations.

I am not the right person to defend Indiascoops.com and you should contact the editor, but since I write for them and also handle their social media, in all fairness before you state that indiascoops.com has been caught spreading fake news, please show me one fake article. There may be unverified news which has been clearly stated so in the articles, but no articles are fake to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Alt News investigates

On Twitter, using a date filter, we found that the first tweets to the IndiaScoops website were from the Twitter account @IndiaScribesTV. These dated back to the first week of May this year. We checked this Twitter account and found that it is the account of a website named IndiaScribes.

On opening the website, we found that the two websites, IndiaScoops and IndiaScribes were near-identical in their format and user interface, suggesting that the two websites are run by the same entity.

The IndiaScribes website mentions one Flynn Remedios as the editor and publisher. The website is not fully functional. Clicking on the ‘About Us’ section results in a ‘404-file not found’ error.

I cannot afford to maintain IndiaScribes.com since I have no funds and no sponsors and hence it is non-functional or partially functional.

Alt News found that the Facebook page of IndiaScoops started off as a fan page of model and actor Arshi Khan. It was later renamed multiple times. This has been earlier revealed by OpIndia.com. At the time of writing, the page had been deleted.

The page is not deleted. It was mass-reported by bhakts and BJP trolls in an organised and concerted campaign on 25 and 26 Sept and hence has been unpublished by Facebook. I have appealed the decision of FB to unpublish my page – which I handle on their behalf, based on fake reporting by paid trolls belonging to one particular political party and I am awaiting the appeal process.

I used to handle PR, publicity and other activities for Arshi Khan till March 2018 to augment my income. The page was an Arshi Khan Bigg Boss fan page when she was in Bigg Boss and I sold it to indiascoops.com in May 2018, after it was no longer required after the show was over. Besides Arshi Khan created a new page and got it verified and wanted to handle it herself.  This is not a crime in any way and is a common practice in the social media circuit. 

We also looked at all those who were sharing links to IndiaScoops articles on various social media platforms, and came across a group on Facebook called Mumbaiwalla. We found that here too, a majority of the posts were by a Facebook user, Flynn Remedios.

We also came across a domain name themumbaiwalla.com on DomainBigData and found that it is registered in the name of Flynn Remedios. Additionally, the phone number mentioned on the Mumbaiwalla Facebook page too is registered in the name of Flynn Remedios according to Truecaller.

Furthermore, we also found that the same phone number has been shared by another Twitter account called IndyaNewz.

The said number used to belong to me till about 3 years ago. It now has been re-cycled by the operator and belongs to someone else.

Moreover, we discovered that one of the earliest tweets on the IndiaScribes account pointed to the IndyaNewz website. This website is no longer operational. We searched the details of this website on domainbigdata.com which is a repository of historical information for different domain names. Here, we found that IndyaNewz is also registered in the name of Flynn Remedios.

This helped establish the fact that Flynn Remedios is the person who is running the IndiaScoops website.

I have already stated above that I handle social media and occasionally write for indiascoops.com and am part of the founding team.

Who is Flynn Remedios

According to this profile on Facebook, Remedios is a journalist, editor, social media guru and managing editor/publisher of IndiaScribes. We searched for Flynn Remedios on Twitter and came across an account where he again describes himself as the editor of IndiaScribes. We found that this account is not active: the last tweet is of January 10, 2018.

We then searched for Flynn Remedios on the professional networking site LinkedIn and found that there were four profiles by the name.

Intriguingly, we did not come across a single photograph of this person. The only photographs we found on his name were of female models and actors.

A tangled web of dubious portals

One of his LinkedIn profiles refers to his professional history and shows that he was also managing editor of multiple websites like IndyaWire, IndiaNewsInfo and IndiaNewsNet among others. Alt News found that these websites are no longer functional.

Just because they (the websites) feature Bollywood gossip and bikini images which are used by all top film and news portals, why are they dubious portals. Websites which are operated by me individually do mention my name and contact email id. Does that make them dubious? This is clear attempt at one-sided defamation without ascertaining the full truth. For your kind information, top news portals purchase images or give me a back link credit when using my images in their stories? Just because a subject does not appeal to you or is not your cup of tea, does it become dubious.

In one of his LinkedIn profiles, Remedios has been designated as the editor and CEO of Futuristic Media Network. This took us to a Blogger profile by the name of Futuristic Media Network. Here, we found a plethora of links to blogs which mostly deal with Bollywood gossip. Many of these blogs date back to 2007 and 2008. Intriguingly, we found articles from The Economic Times dating back to 1997 which were authored by Flynn Remedios. However, there is not a single verifiable social media account of this person that we came across.

This blog list took us to yet another website, Newz66, which is again operated by Flynn Remedios. This website too is no longer operational. The archived version can be accessed here. It mentions Remedios as the editor and publisher of Newz66.

Our research led us to conclude that all these questionable websites which have similar templates are being operated by a single entity, Flynn Remedios. These websites are full of sensational content. The titles of the articles published on these websites are click-bait in nature, there are no references to the claims made in the reports.

Is it a crime to publish gossip or filmy news in India? I have also been a film journalist in the past and also handle PR for artistes and Tv personalities (to augment my personal income as one cannot at all survive as a free lance journalist in India.) Is that a crime? You have used the word sensational content. Please clarify. Is publishing bikini images a crime? I am also a freelance photographer and do photo shoots –and publish them on my websites. Many models cannot pay for their photo shoots during their initial struggling days and also want to get noticed online. So please tell me if doing a bikini or glamour shoot and publishing a few images online, is in anyway a crime in India?  For your kind information, publications and media houses like the Times of India, India Today, Hungama.com etc and content providers and content aggregators  like Rediff, Santabanta.com, Yahoo and MSN pay the photographers huge amounts for such shoots. Is it illegal to do this, as has been implied in your article?

Sensationalism and fake news

All the websites operated by Flynn Remedios are replete with articles on Bollywood actors and models, apart from a few reports on politics. Many of the stories are make-believe; for example, on the IndiaScoops website, we found numerous ‘news reports’ on Flynn Remedios himself which make rather bizarre claims.

Why can’t I promote myself or my business as a PR, photographer and publicist? What bizarre claims have been made? Instead in my humble opinion, it is Altnews that is resorting to sensationalizing this story without waiting for a response from me.

Alt News spoke to actor Arshi Khan who confirmed that Remedios is not her publicist. “I am not associated with him in any way. He is a controversial person who keeps making false claims about me. He is neither my manager nor my PR agent.” On being asked as to why there are links to IndiaScribes on her Twitter account, she stated that she did not have a Twitter account when she first appeared on Bigg Boss, and that the account in her name was created and operated by Remedios without her knowledge. She later managed to retrieve her Twitter account from him.

I spoke to Arshi Khan and she has completely denied saying this. She told me she only said I no longer handle her PR and work, which is true. I have WhatsApp print screens to prove this. However, I still handle some legal issues for her. Just today I attended the court of The Competent Authority (Rent Act) at Mumbai (Konkan Division) to submit an application on Arshi Khan’s behalf. I am not handling her PR and work as a manager right now, due to certain issues which are privileged and private between us and hence I do not want to specify here. Besides, due to my health (I suffer from diabetes, asthma and other health problems) and my age, I am not able to run around as events and appearances for a celebrity need a younger person who can run around more.

Arshi Khan told me clearly that she has been misquoted by your website and she never said the above. Whatever the truth, I have mentioned my side of the story. I created and managed her Twitter account till Feb 2018, after which I mutually handed it over to her. The statement above that her Twitter account was managed without her knowledge was completely false. Since the last one year, I have not posted any news on Arshi Khan. I handled her PR when she was in the Bigg Boss house and for two months after that and all content published on her was with her explicit consent. We are in regular touch with each other and are good friends. She considers me as her father and I treat her like my daughter, because of our age difference.

This is hardly surprising, as Remedios had earlier claimed to be the agent of actor Rakhi Sawant, which was rubbished by the actor in 2011, “This Flynn guy had been calling me, posing as a journalist first and extracting information about my work, in the garb of taking my interviews. Later, when I learnt that he was incorrectly claiming to be my publicist, I stopped speaking to him and taking his calls. He has never been my publicist, but keeps issuing fake statements on my behalf”.

I worked with Rakhi Sawant in 2005 for about 2 months. She gave me a cheque from PNB and I can search and provide records of the same. After which I went to Delhi to work with Anil Ambani. If you may recollect the Ambani brothers were at war in 2005, for distribution or share holding of the business and I was part of the Anil Ambani team for a short while of about 2 months. Tony Jesudasan of Team Anil Ambani and Mrs Olga Tellis, former Editor of The Asian Age can confirm this if required.

 I also wrote a book titled “Brothers in Arms” on the battle between the two Ambani Brothers based on my experiences, where I interviewed several journalists covering the Ambani war at that time. This was covered in a column in the Deccan Herald or Deccan Chronicle – I don’t exactly remember, which I think has been removed or is no longer available online.

This was in June-July 2005, after the two Ambani brothers reconciled and came to a settlement. The book was never published as no publisher was willing to publish such a book that was not particularly favourable to the Ambani clan, particularly after they had sorted out their differences to a larger extent.

The above quote by Rakhi Sawant is dated 2011, six years after I ceased working with her and was given to the publication by a rival publicist who was later on handling Rakhi Sawant at that time in 2011, due to professional rivalry. I was with Rakhi Sawant for only 2 months as her PR, but that is a fact and I stand by it. I wonder how this is relevant to this article on Altnews, but without knowing the entire context you have used this old article or snippet – which in itself is one sided and does not have my side of the story –  about 8 years old to try and prove that I peddle fake news, which is editorially and ethically incorrect.

Remedios was also in the news in 2010 when Ritu Sachdeva, a Kannada model and actor had accused him of duping her of Rs.4 lakh with the promise that he would guarantee her a break on Bigg Boss. A police complaint had been filed against him.

This was in 2008. I shot, edited and released 4 music videos for Ritu Sachdev, which in my opinion was worth the money she paid me. She did not give me Rs 4 lakhs but had paid a much lesser amount.  The model filed a fake complaint and the matter was eventually dismissed by the court. I am not aware of any latest developments but this was 10 years ago.

Alt News also found that Flynn Remedios tries to contact young female models/actors on Facebook, and the common theme of these comments is that he is going to publish an article/interview of that person, and asks them to personally message him.

This is done my most journalists who do not have a contact number of a person they seek to interview. If I message a model on Facebook since I am a freelance journalist and PR, I am legitimately doing my business. Is that a crime?

Your article mentions legitimate business activity and tries to portray it as a crime or criminal activity.  You have published my private conversations on Facebook. That is a breach of privacy and if you could get these private FB conversations, why couldn’t you reach me or wait for a reasonable time frame till I could respond. I take strong objection to this tactic used by you / Altnews.

Alt News found that the extent of this dubious operation by Flynn Remedios which spans across several questionable websites, is staggering.

Specify the “dubious operation” in detail as alleged above? Don’t make wild, baseless allegations. Running Bollywood websites anonymously is not at all a dubious activity, as falsely alleged by you. I have a right to protect my privacy online. This is my fundamental right. Your own website Altnews only mentions a contact email id. Which I have also done on my sites.

Apart from Bollywood gossip, a new area of operation appears to be fake news around politics and policy. Considering the opacity with which the PMO operates and the secrecy around defence agreements, it is ludicrous and plain inconceivable that an obscure website like IndiaScoops would manage to access sensitive details concerning the money spent on either the Yoga video or the Rafale deal.

Dear Altnews, please wait, there is much more to come. I have worked with the Ambanis’, on some “special projects”, but due to certain professional ethics and my respect for the patriarch, the late Dhirubhai Ambani, I am not opening my mouth, which if I did, would shake the industry today.

It has been observed that public figures active on social media have repeatedly shared content from such obscure websites owing to confirmation bias, thus providing traction to these fraudulent websites.

Your article has gone to great lengths to defame me in this story and have published all material that is defamatory to me, without waiting for a clarification or digging deeper or publishing the positive aspects. I have sent you news links to prove my claims.

In the earlier years from 1990 to 2002, there were no websites or news portals for the publications I worked for, like there are today, or for that matter FB was also practically unknown, or in other cases my articles and content has been removed and hence my professional achievements are not online. My investigative journalism articles published in The BlitzThe Daily and Island Magazine before 1996 are hence not available online. This does not in any way mean that I have not been a full time mainline journalist and your article does not mention that at all.

Finally, I have worked with the Reliance Group on some very special projects, approximately 20 or 21 years ago (don’t remember exact dates) and again in 2005. If I open my mouth, the mountains will fall….

I have not responded to articles by websites like OpIndia, MyNation, RightLog etc., as these websites are BJP right-wing propaganda machines and are funded and supported by the BJP or pro-right or pro-BJP teams. The people who write for them are relative amateurs and have no idea of “what really lies beneath”.

I am not Anil Ambani’s enemy or anti-Modi or anti BJP – many of my friends are BJP local leaders in Mumbai, but as a writer and citizen of democratic India, I have a right to express my views.

Unfortunately, these above websites like OpIndia and MyNation are managed or owned by my former colleagues or professional contacts, with whom I have interacted with in the past.

It is a sad state of affairs in India today, where the world of journalists has got divided into two sides – BJP or right-wingers and left or liberal or Congress sympathizers.  Journalism in India has got split down the middle – either you are pro-Modi or anti-Modi.

There was a time in the late 1990s and even before the Modi era, when we as journalists never bothered which political party you sympathized with -that was totally personal and private

But a respectable and impartial website like Altnews.in, which I hold in great esteem runs such a one-sided, defamatory story is very hard to digest, dear Pratik?

Please, publish this email in totality, in the interest of justice, failing which I will be compelled to take appropriate legal action – both civil and criminal against the one-sided original story published by Altnews, that is completely and factually incorrect and makes wild allegations and insinuations, based on coincidences and conjecture.

Thanking you

Flynn Remedios

Shatrughan Sinha Appeals To PM Narendra Modi On Rafale Deal: “Sir Ji, Break Your Silence”

NEW DELHI: For the second time in less than a week, BJP parliamentarian Shatrughan Sinha has asked the government to clear the air on the multi-million dollar Rafale fighter jet deal, which has been caught in a political slugfest. Today, in a tweet, Mr Sinha asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence and contradict former French president Francois Hollande, who had dropped a bombshell last week on the deal for the 36 Rafale jets.

“Sir ji! Please break your silence and contradict former French President Hollande (since both of you were present in meeting)….otherwise people will think he is speaking the truth,” Shatrughan Sinha, who has been consistently critical of his party’s government, tweeted.

Last week, a French publication had quoted Mr Hollande as saying that the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the offset partner for the Rs. 58,000 crore Rafale deal.

Mr Hollande’s remarks have been denied by both the French government and Dassault, the maker of the Rafale jets.

The opposition has been alleging that PM Modi sealed the deal without any transparency and how it benefitted Anil Ambani. The Anil Ambani-led group is manufacturing aerospace components as part of the offset component of the Rafale deal. The clause requires Rafale manufacturer Dassault to ensure that business worth around Rs. 30,000 crores is generated for the Indian defence system. Reliance Defence is not making components for the Rafales ordered by India but is building assemblies for Dassault business jets.

On Saturday, Mr Sinha, 72, had asked the government to come clean on the fighter jet deal.

“The statement has come from a person who was not only a former France president but the one under whom the (Rafale) deal was sealed. Some questions have arisen from it, which need to be answered,” Mr Sinha, the lawmaker from Bihar’s Patna Sahib seat, had said in the presence of Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh.

“People are questioning why an experienced company like HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) was set aside and a new company (Reliance Defence) got the opportunity (for offset contract under the deal),” the actor-turned-politician had added.

The deal to buy Rafale fighters was signed by the NDA government with France in 2016 after the previous Congress government’s negotiations were scrapped. The Congress-led UPA’s plan was to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France’s Dassault Aviation, with 108 others being assembled in India by the HAL in Bengaluru. But according to the new deal, India would buy 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets.

Mr Sinha’s comments were criticized by fellow party parliamentarian RK Sinha on Monday, who accused him of siding with opposition leaders like Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav.

“You should first decide where you stand. With Modi or against Modi. The people of the country will settle the account accordingly,” RK Sinha had said on his Facebook page.

Mr Sinha, called Shotgun for his acerbic comments that consistently attack his own party, has had an uneasy relationship with the BJP for a few years and often cribs that the party, under PM Modi and Amit Shah, had relegated him to the spectator seats in Bihar.

Source: NDTV

Anup Jalota even clicked my nude pics: Aneesha Singh Sharma

In a shocking revelation, Aneesha Singh Sharma has claimed that the Bhajan King Anup Jalota even clicked her nude pics and other selfies in a compromising position. “I am scared the images will be leaked in the public domain and I request you to take strict and immediate action in the matter,” she has written in her police complaint which has been accessed by IndiaScoops.com.

Also Read: Anup Jalota literally forced her to have ‘oral s*x’ with him on 3-4 occasions, even while he was dating Jasleen Matharu

In her written complaint to the police, which has been accessed by IndiaScoops.com, she alleged that the Bhajan King only asked her for oral s*x. He always seemed to have a problem with getting an erection, she told IndiaScoops.com on phone from the USA.

Jalota’s girlfriend Jasleen Matharu was pregnant and even had an abortion last year (Read Full Story Here).

The incident was preceded by a big fight between the two love-birds, she told IndiaScoops.com in an exclusive interview.

Also Read: “I think Anup Jalota is impotent, he had problems having an erection and only wanted oral s*x”: Aneesha Singh Sharma

She also claimed that Jasleen’s family had disowned her and asked her to leave the family home (Read Here).

Aneesha has alleged Jalota threatened to kill her (Read Here) if she went to the cops about their relationship. She has submitted a written complaint through her lawyer to the cops.

Also Read: Jasleen was pregnant and had an abortion last year

The police are investigating the matter and have sent letters to Jalota’s residence and even to the Bigg Boss house, asking the Bhajan maestro to join the investigation and appear before the investigating officer in person to record his statement (Read Here).

The aspiring singer and model has had a controversial past. She was in the news months ago, when her intimate images were leaked by a fake casting director who allegedly claimed to be a film director and producer (Read Here).

Also Read: Classical Singer Razia Nair Rao accuses Anup Jalota of hitting on her

She was also the talk of the town on social media when her n*de images went viral on Facebook (See pics here).

She has also claimed that the Bhajan guru and his student had discussed about revealing the status of their relationship on the first day of the show.

Also Read: Classical Singer Razia Nair Rao accuses Anup Jalota of hitting on her

According to her interview with IndiaScoops.com, Jasleen was not in favor of spilling the beans on the first day. She wanted to show the world that the two found love on the show, after being locked up in the Bigg Boss house for weeks together. But the makers of the show had other plans. Read the full story here.