Monday, March 14th, 2016

How it all began – The story behind

Mathew Samuel | March 14, 2016 9:30 am Print
Mathew Samuel : Editor in Chief Narada News


It started almost three years back… I was in Kerala meeting friends and relatives. There were lot of things, at that time to discuss, and since I was a journalist who landed from Delhi, all my friends were eager to understand the Modi wave which would later change the politics of the country.

Some of my expat friends who were in Kerala on vacation mooted the idea of an independent news portal. Knowing my penchant for investigative journalism, they suggested that the news portal should strive to bring out the reality behind the obvious. They promised to raise funding for the project.

What I sought, and the investors agreed upon was complete editorial freedom. I got assurances from my friends that they won’t put any limitations on editorial freedom. germinated this way, three years ago, at a small island, off the bay of Kochi.

In the following months we held several meetings with those whom we thought would be interested in the project.

As discussions to firm up funding was progressing, I was engrossed in trying to come up with a path breaking story that would launch the news portal.

It was the time when the national political scene was inundated with corruption charges. After having done my spade work, I zeroed in on West Bengal. There were many reasons for that. Mamata Banerjee rode to power with soaring expectations after three decades of rule by Left parties. Sarada chit fund scam had dented the image of Mamata in a big way. Journalistic curiosity spurred me to go to Kolkata. I stayed there for months talking to people, trying to gauge their mood, their perception of the people who call the shots in eastern state.

After some weeks I came to the conclusion that the Sarada chit fund scam was just tip of the iceberg of the actual state of affairs in Bengal. Half way through the investigation, I was hit by food poison. After being admitted to a hospital, I was later forced to return to Delhi.

While I was recuperating, I got a call from Mr. K D Singh MP, who is the major stake holder in Tehelka Magazine. I broke the Operation Westend story about corruption in defence deals, while working with Tehelka in 2001.

Tehelka, as everyone knows, was struggling after unfortunate events which I don’t want to delve into again. K D Singh invited me to take charge of Tehelka and put together a team which would bring the magazine back on track. It was not easy for me to decline the offer, since Tehelka was close to my heart.

I discussed with my friends who were associated with the news portal project. Reluctantly they agreed to my request to move to Tehelka till it is stabilised. I took up K D Singh’s offer and went ahead and helmed a professional team there. After being convinced that Tehelka was in the safe hands of a young and vibrant editorial leadership, I stepped down from the organization three months back.

I resumed my work for the realization of my dream project. Now I present the biggest story of corruption in Indian polity. Big in the sense, how the different layers of a political party and its government is steeped in corruption.

It is also an indicator that India’s political class is not likely to be free from the lure of money, any time soon.

This news break, for all reasons, could change the way,the country’s politics play out in the coming months…’s disclosures are likely to herald a new way of scrutinizing those in power.