Somebody please tell Pratap Reddy the net’s here

S.S. KARNADSHA writes from Bangalore: Something very interesting has been happening with the July 3, 2006 issue of Outlook magazine.

Across the country, in cities big and small—Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Bangalore, Madras, Hyderabad, Poona, Hubli, Guntur, Vizag, Chitoor, Madurai and Coimbatore—some unidentified people have been buying up copies of the magazine available with retailers and have been placing orders for thousands more.

The circulation people at Outlook say they have never witnessed such panic buying in the magazine’s 10-year history and the situation on Monday and Tuesday was so absurd that retailers who normally sell about 10 copies were calling up to place orders for not less than 500 more.

Why this panic buying? It is not because of William Dalrymple‘s sexy cover story on the 1857 mutiny. In fact, the cover story is rather disappointing. Dalrymple speaks more about himself and the Orient he discovered, than the last Mughal— Bahadur Shah Zafar and the first war of Independence.

Then what is it that has caused this unprecedented buying spree? It is anybody’s guess. Stop on page 38 and you will see a story on Apollo hospitals and its owner Dr Pratap Reddy‘s “less-than-clean history”. The story is headlined “Anatomy of a Cover-up.” This two-pager is what has caused the flutter in the market.

Yours truly did some investigation on this by getting on to the streets in Bangalore. He asked retailers on Margosa Road in Malleswaram and Shesadripuram, if those who had placed orders for copies with them had left phone numbers to be contacted when the extra copies arrived.

They said “yes” and gave the numbers: 2331***0, 4112***5. When we dialled, they were numbers of a Apollo health care centre and a Apollo pharmacy. Retailers also revealed the ones who had come to pick up the copies had idenitified themselves as Smita and Dhananjay.

Isn’t it surprising that Dr. Pratap Reddy who has built a Rs 1,500 crore business, is naive enough to believe that he can actually block the dissemination of information in these tech-heavy times and Internet age. Does he think he is living in China or the former USSR?


See the Outlook article on Apollo: Anatomy of a Cover-up

Also see: Do you trust private hospitals?