‘The Crimes of India’ will only surprise those who think ‘a good newspaper is a nation talking to itself’

PRASHANT KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bombay:

‘The Leader Guards the Reader’ used to be the tagline of one of India’s oldest English language newspapers.

Forget the reader for a moment.

How effectively does ‘The Leader’ guard the poor writer?

The freelance writer?

The buzz in the city that never sleeps is that the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police has booked the Editorial Co-ordinator of a prominent newspaper for “cheating” the aforesaid publication for—wait for it—Rs 15 crore.

Yes, ₹1,50,000,000.

The money, meant for payments to freelance journalists and columnists, was allegedly siphoned off by the coordinator, over a period of six years, by creating around 100 fake bank accounts to show monies sent and received.

The racket also allegedly involved some reporters, including one from the city’s best known afternoon paper, into whose account Rs 3 crore is said to have been diverted.

So, freelancers, the next time your measly cheque doesn’t come through on time, you know you were only helping a needy person to book an expensive Oberoi flat, buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and go on a holiday to Egypt.

Happy May Day!