Vir Sanghvi “suspends” Hindustan Times column

Vir Sanghvi‘s weekly Hindustan Times column Counterpoint will not appear from next Sunday, after tapes of his alleged conversations with the lobbyist Niira Radia surfaced in Outlook* and Open magazines last week.

The column which will appear tomorrow, 28 November 2010, will be his last, although Sanghvi claims on his website, a) that he is merely taking a break and will be back soon, and b) that his other work for HT will appear as usual.

“The whole episode has left me feeling battered. Perhaps it will drag on. Perhaps more muck will fly around. I have no desire to subject Counterpoint to this filth. It deserves better. So, Counterpoint will be taking a break. When life returns to normal, so will Counterpoint.

“As for me, I must say in all humility, that I will use the break to do some thinking. Of course, I’ll still be around, both here at the HT and in Brunch and in all the other places your normally find me (TV, books, live events, etc.). Counterpoint has taken a break before (six months in 2000). It returned rested and refreshed. This time around, perhaps a rest will lead to renewal.”

The rumour is that the New Indian Express which, too, runs an exclusive column by Sanghvi has decided to drop him after the tapes’ scandal.

Sanghvi, who happily drops the names of Congress bigwigs Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversations, suffers further public opprobrium in the letters column of Outlook* magazine, where a “clarification” reads thus:

“After Outlook’s disclosure of the 2G scam tapes, sources close to the Congress leadership have said journalist Vir Sanghvi’s references to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversation with Niira Radia were a figment of his imagination. He was neither consulted during the cabinet formation post-2009 election nor given the opportunity to speak to the Congress leadership on the allocation of portfolios.”

Oxford-educated Sanghvi was editor of Bombay magazine of the India Today group, Sunday of Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, and Hindustan Times before being named “advisory editorial director of HT“.

One of the few print journalists to graduate to television with ease, Sanghvi has hosted shows on a number of networks Star and Discovery Travel & Living, and writes a popular food column.

Counterpoint has appeared for over two decades in both Sunday and HT.

* Disclosures apply

Update: An earlier headline for this piece suggested that Hindustan Times had “suspended” the column.

Read the full column: Setting the record straight

External reading: The Niira Radia tapes and transcripts


  1. gulzaar

    HT has NOT dropped the column. Vir Sanghvi WANTED to drop the column for a while. He approached the management and wanted to pull Counterpoint out. We know because we work at the HT editorial office.

    1. Ruchika Khanna

      Either way its a relief. We dont want a corrupt man giving his opinion on other’s matters when we have such a low opinion of him

      1. Srinath

        right said. LOL

    2. Amol

      How do you let such guys even walk inside your building ??? Is there anything called a “Character” left in India ???

    3. joy

      Do you want to say that HT has accepted everything is fair in journalism.

      1. Krishna Kumar

        It is no surprise Gulzaar, the difference between Vir and HT management is the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee.

  2. Tarlemaga

    Vir has reached his low point. He will have to find solace with Malavika Sanghvi his ex.

    Too much of Radia drilled his Counterpoint in the wrong direction…

    ha ha.

  3. sanjay

    when it is clear that sanghvi writes biased, paid for columns and Masquerades as a journalist, it is time for a exit.. dignified or graceless , it does not matter.

  4. Thinking woman

    Damn your idiot Sanghvi who writes columns only on food, drinks, pubs and spas…Rest of the time he is writing make believe crap!! If HT hasn’t suspended him yet, they should do it soon before the public raises an uproar and they throw him out like a dead, stinking cockroach!

  5. pdp

    He was simply pimping for Radia. Worst still, he felt good and powerful doing it. Loser.

  6. gabriel

    In any case, Vir writes an opinion column and not news reports. Who he talks to is his business, as his job is not to report news as it happens. So how he forms his opinion cannot be judged.

    New reporting is Barkha’s job.

  7. Mysore Peshva

    Ho hum… So Vir Sanghvi, the pompous ass, is also a phony. Shaabash!

    Really, who cares? Sanghvi’s fluff never made a difference to my life, or anyone else’s that I know.

  8. Tripti

    ” Of course, I’ll still be around, …… in all the other places your normally find me (TV, books, live events, etc.).” – Really ?? What makes u think advertisers/channels will be interested in someone who has lost credibility ? Why wud a sensible advertiser/ broadcaster take you on when there are thousands who hate u out der ?

    1. meenakshi

      You may not care for Vir Sanghvi’s work Tripti, but there are millions of people who do. YOU are not India. There are more people than you who agree that he is the country’s most-gifted journalist.

      And that will not change even if he was guilty in this case.

      We don’t care if he writes an article against Anil Ambani and argues that India’s resources should NOT be in the hands of a cabal of few rich people. (GOD! What’s your problem with that? You want Anil Ambani to take over everything in this country?)

      And if don’t give a rat’s ass if he talks to Nora Radia. Every journo does that and has done that. The other tapes have not been revealed with other important media people talking to Radia.

      We wil continue to support him.

      1. Raj

        Meenakshi, yes he is very gifted as you know it takes country’s most journalist to write scripted story for Mukesh.

        Anyways, Meenakshi good luck searching his work in Public Domains. You can make an archive/library/museum from his past scripted work, if you like.

  9. Satish

    Don’t act lame. Fooling and manufacturing news is the gravest crime.
    It is breach of journalism ethics. But do you suppose the following mean:-
    “Vir Sanghvi:- Who Do You Want Congress To Talk To? Karunanidhi? I’ll Speak To Ahmed Patel.”
    – Is that within the fair workings of true journalist.
    By saying “We will continue to support him.”, you are no better than the worst of the politicians.

  10. meenakshi

    Satish, this controversy is more complicated than that.

    The same tapes can imply someone is stringing a source along. As I have done the same countless times to get into the confidence of bad politicians etc. I cannot judge him on that.

    If journalists did not do this, there would never be any breaking news in TV or newspapers. I wish you guys would understand this. You want the truth exposed. But you want the media to behave like Mother Teresa at the same time. Instead of lambasting the 2 accused parties, if you just stopped for a second to think, you will see the truth of what I am saying.

    And once you think in terms of that modus operandi, all the conversation makes sense. You give a little bit to source, make a few concessions, and hope to get deeper into their circle.

    Also, what intrigues me is that out of 40 journalists on tape only Barkha and Vir have been highlighted by Open magazine. Why? Because they are more saleable? More interesting than other journos? There is a HUGE consipracy behind this whole scandal, and unseen forces and playing with the Twitter crowd, making them dance like puppets to their tune.

    Very sad.

    1. db

      This Meenakshi is actually *** Sanghvi. Loser trying to defend himself in disguise.
      Couldn’t even type the right spelling of Meenakshi. real life loser

  11. Hosa Belaku

    It was embarassing to hear the taped conversation. He did not ask a single question, just hmm, mm, hmm all through. And at the end of a monologue by Nira, he said: “You are sending a note, huh?” Why not ask her to send the 650 or whatever word column?
    Another journo was asking Nira to talk to constitutional experts and give him the dope. She said it was difficult. I doubt if the lazybones made the effort to find other experts and do a piece.
    No wonder, well-informed and agenda-driven PR folk find it so easy to plant stories. It is not news alone, but edits and horror of horrors, “viewpoints” that are supposed to be a veteran journalist’s assessment.
    To her credit, Nira seems to have done an absolutely competent job in managing media. “Give me Page One.” “I want to work with you.” “Read ABC’s piece. He is spot on.”
    Her voice rings with confidence, while journalists sound like stenos.

  12. prem

    A couple of days…a couple of tapes… and two journalists are scurrying for cover. The point is, are they the only blacksheep (who isn’t?). Likely the two happened to have been exposed!

  13. Mediamouse

    No matter what anybody says, the scandal has been blown all out of proportion by the online media. Shameful name-calling and personal abuse has stripped Twitter and Facebook of its steam. Instead of conducting a campaign within the precepts of common decency, all we see on Twitter and Facebook are the worst sort of insults that NONE OF THE WRITERS WOULD EVER OWN UP TO IN PUBLIC. For example, will someone calling Barkha a prostitute who sells her body own up to that comment? Let his friends and family know that he continuously tweeted this disgusting claims on Twitter? No he won’t. (So why expect media to own up to secretly taped conversations? but that is besides the point.) What social media is doing with this scandal needs to be stopped.

  14. K. Bhargav

    Twitter is damaging itself at this stage. Instead of watchdog, more and more people are opting out as their image of the Tweeples has turned to lynch mob. It is a good thing to get a watchdog to guard your house. But when the dog starts to kill and bite, it is time to shoot it down. I joined the #firebarkha gang on Twitter but I have opted out as I see the movement become one full of lunatic people feeding off the sense of power Twitter has given them. The kind of mindless allegations and dirty insinuations being made on Twitter is really shameful.

  15. Sudeep N

    He is a cunning chap. Just as you fools would never
    undertand, he will go scot free. First things first, this son of a
    bitch doesn’t deserve a comeback or whatever he says in the first
    place. And more importantly, he wanted to lay low till the issue
    died down which is exactly what is happening now. The whole thing
    has dissappeared out of the media as if nothing whatsoever
    happened. And this SOB is just facilitating it by pulling his
    columns out so that people aren’t reminded of him on

  16. Rahman Jahangir

    You may not like Vir’s alleged involvement in the scam but at the same time you cannot make him guilty of the crime by seeing a report. He might be an accused but cannot be called guilty. Media cannot act as a judge of the courts. He is an outstanding journalist India could boast of.

    Rahman Jahangir, Dhaka, April 17

  17. media reached its nadir.Vir Sanghvi reputation has been tarnished after the alleged tape with the lobbyist Nira Radia.Does Vir feel cathartic in the wake of such scandal? Of cource he keeps adding spice to BRUNCH during his break.Ostensibly,he has cut short his stature by indulging in to such sort of activity.
    Wakeel Ahmad.

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