According to a reply in the Lok Sabha by minister of state for finance Pankaj Chaudhari, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered 5,422 cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), but only 23 persons have been convicted – less than 0.5%. This is nothing short of an indictment by the government of its own investigation agency and calls for special scrutiny by a parliamentary committee. 

It is worth finding out whether any investigation agency in any reasonably governed democracy has such a pathetic, almost non-existent conviction rate. But the ED is in the news every day, raiding a politician here, or some businessman there. TV channels report ED raids and investigations ad nauseam, but never pause to ask why its conviction rate is so low.

Is it because securing convictions is never the objective, at all? The goal of the establishment is merely to threaten political rivals, dissenters or media to consolidate its authoritarian powers. The ED is probably just an instrument for securing that limited objective.

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by M.K. Venu


More than meets the eye Oct 15, 2021  Julio Ribeiro


Empathy: Drug consumers should be treated like patients, requiring medical care rather than retributive justice. PTI


two informers, a BJP ‘karyakarta’, named Manish Bhanushali, and his friend, GP Gosavi, charged four times, thrice in Thane and once in Pune, of the offences of cheating, extortion and the like. They doubled up both as informants and NCB ‘constables’ used for escorting the frightened drug user, Aryan, into the NCB’s office from the court or some other place not indicated on television. Only the triumphant mugs of these worthies announcing their importance to the world was pictured on the TV screen.

The involvement of the ‘karyakarta’ leads me to suspect that there is a concerted attempt by the party in power, starting from the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation, to target Bollywood so that it falls in line with its grand design of bringing all elements of the media to heel. The National Socialist Party in Germany, before World War II, had perfected this subjugation of the film world to a fine art under the direction of its propaganda czar, Heinrich Goebbels.

I have heard an argument being made that the demand side is as important as the supply side in NCB’s mandate to curb this menace of drugs. When marginal and potential users learn of the arrests of famous individuals or their children, the temptation to indulge automatically reduces. This hypothesis has no feet to stand. The usage of drugs in some social circles is so rampant that the only thing that will help is cutting off the supply.

My own view is that drug consumers should be treated like patients in a doctor’s clinic, requiring medical care rather than retributive justice. The police need to concentrate on the pushers and the distributors who are the real menace. The NCB, when reminded of its responsibility in this regard, arrested a Nigerian national involved in the distribution network. It is a matter of concern that a disproportionately large number of the city’s Nigerian residents are mixed up in the drug trade.

Propaganda is often used by right wing ideology for widening the base of followers to a particular way of thinking. The role of lie, constant repetition builds long term perceptions and builds a populace conducive to right wing ideology. Hitler even in the days when no internet or social media existed understood its role. He believed that “All propaganda must be confined to a few bare necessities and then must be expressed in a few stereotyped formulas . . . Only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea upon the memory of a crowd.” He also pointed that “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.” Hence “In political matters feeling often decides more correctly than reason.” On whom the propaganda to be addressed, he points “To the scientifically trained intelligentsia or the less educated masses? It must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses.”

by T. Navin


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Anonymous Complainant Targeting Zubair Tweet Linked to Tek Fog App, BJYM Leader in Gujarat Ayushman Kaul, Naomi Barton and Devesh Kumar / 02 July 2022 The Wire's investigation into a network of 757 Twitter accounts used to mount attacks against AltNews found that the recovery email ID for the anonymous Twitter handle that sparked the original FIR was This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'.

The prosecution failed to reveal the account holder’s identity in court, but the Indian Express reported that the police later sent Twitter a notice under Section 91 of Criminal Procedure Code on the evening of June 29, asking them to provide details of the account @balajikijaiin that goes by the name ‘Hanuman Bhakt’.

Investigations by The Wire have uncovered a network of 757 accounts linked to Ahir that have attempted – since 2018 – to incriminate the fact-checker alongside Pratik Sinha, co-founder at AltNews, by highlighting and misconstruing old tweets uploaded by the two journalists to portray them as “Hinduphobic” and then tagging the local authorities in order to have the two journalists arrested for supposedly hurting religious sentiments.

In particular, this network also included eight replica accounts of @balajikijaiin – the anonymous account whose complaint formed the basis of Zubair’s arrest by the Delhi police. Each of these eight accounts exhibited similar properties – profile picture, tweets and usernames – and employed the same modus operandi to target the AltNews co-founders on Twitter. While five of these eight replica accounts have been deleted, two other accounts - @balajikijain and @HanumanBhakt101 - remain active at the time of analysis.

Complementing this activity was a larger network of 18,364 accounts which were also used to trend other hashtags – #ArrestZubair, #ArrestMohamedZubair and #ArrestBlasphemerMdZubair – that targeted the journalist.

In June 2021, the Tek Fog network had 77,800 users, many of which became inactive following the publication of our three part investigation. The activation of this cluster to manipulate public perception around the Zubair case is the first time in the last six months that the use of this network has been detected.

The original @balajikijaiin was the complainant cited in the Delhi Police’s case against Mohammed Zubair. The account was temporarily disabled after the public outcry generated by the case; when it returned, it proceeded to make a similar tweet against the co-founder of AltNews, Pratik Sinha, targeting out a tweet of his from seven years ago and asking for police action to be taken against him.