Jessica Lal, Tehelka, Bina Ramani & the media


It was in South Delhi socialite Bina Ramani‘s Tamarind Court restaurant that Jessica Lall, a “model who worked as a celebrity barmaid”, was shot dead in 1999 by Manu Sharma, the son of Congress politician Venod Sharma.

Initially exonerated of the charges, the case turned full turtle for Sharma following a sting operation by Harinder Baweja, then with Tehelka magazine. Manu Sharma was eventually found guilty.

As the owner of the restaurant which was the scene of the crime, Bina Ramani spent nine days in jail in the case. She has an interview with Tehelka this week following the release of her book Bird in a Banyan Tree:

You have been sharply critical of the role media played in the aftermath of the Jessica Lal trial. Yet, it was a Tehelka investigation that brought out the truth. Do you think media can ensure justice?

It is not a guarantee that the media can ensure justice but it can certainly carve the path to it. Conversely, it can derail justice when it becomes over-zealous about its point of view. The media in India is extremely powerful and can wield a lot of influence—it should therefore be thorough i its investigation.

For the record, the news channel NewsX is now owned by Kartikeya Sharma, brother of Manu Sharma, through his company Information TV.

The Sharma family’s Piccadilly group also now owns M.J. Akbar-founded The Sunday Guardian, whose chairman is Ram Jethmalani, whose interview with Karan Thapar is must-watch television.

Also read: Note to directors: It was Shammy, nor Barkha

1 Comment

  1. Nava Thakuria

    JFA urges Arunachal CM to intervene on journo-authority conflict By Our Correspondent Guwahati, Feb 15: Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has expressed serious concern at the ceasing of publications of newspapers in Arunachal Pradesh since today due to the ongoing conflict between the media persons and the authority in Itanagar. News agency reports from Itanagar say that Arunachal Press Club (APC) and Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) have decided to go for an indefinite shut down of all Itanagar-based media houses fearing law and order problem arising out of the proposed dharna by Students’ Union Movement of Arunachal (SUMA) in front of The Arunachal Times office yesterday. In a joint representation to Arunachal Pradesh chief minister’s office, both the journalist bodies have already sought an immediate suspension of Mige Kamki, the Capital Complex district magistrate for issuing permission to SUMA for the demonstration in front of the pioneer English daily of the bordering State. “The irrational and foolish demand of SUMA had been permitted by DM Mige Kamki and it gives out the message that the state government is a party to curtailing the Freedom of Press and media in the state,” said the joint letter of APC and APUWJ. JFA, in a statement issued by its president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, has urged the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki to intervene on the matter and resolve the issue amicably such that the people should not get deprived from having their morning newspapers because of the conflict. Condemning any kind of threats to the media houses in any case, the Assam based scribe body also appealed to the media fraternity of Arunachal Pradesh to rethink on their decision to shut down the publications indefinitely keeping an eye on the valued newspaper readers across the State.

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