Anupama Airy’s counters with allegations in leaked email. Editors at HT respond to her claims.
The Essar Leaks seemed to have opened a can of worms with allegations and counter-allegations flying thick within media circles and social-networking platforms.
Last night, Anupama Airy, former Energy Editor at The Hindustan Times (HT), who was suspended and later resigned for her connection with Essar emails, shot off a mail to her bosses at HT claiming a culture of seeking “favours” within the top management.
The email sent to HT Editor Sanjoy Narayan, National Business Editor at HT Arnab Mitra and Nic Dawes, Chief Content Officer, HT, is reproduced below:
I have already submitted my resignation and the same would have reached you by now. However I would like to put things in perspective and understand how what I have done for a friend has amounted to taking a favour while what I have been doing for my bosses and asked to do for the organisation doesn’t amount to taking a favour.
One, after having worked for so many years, none of you held my hands despite my being truly working for the interest of the organisation. If my asking for a help from a friend who I know for years for a vehicle for a third person amounts to a favour what amounts to the following..
Arnab asking most of us for helping him sell copies of his book. He called me to seek help from corporates. Essar helped him by buying 250 copies and Reliance was also contacted to push sales amidst other cos. Then tweets on his book from a few others following a request from him.
Arnab asked me for a vehicle support for his trip to Mumbai and I had even organised the same. However he didn’t take it later.
Sanjoy how many times have I been told to help for sponsorships from most energy firms for HTs leadership summit. More that 1 cr worth of sponsorships every year. I have been used but I considered it my duty to do things for my organisation and my bosses.
Sanjoy you asked for a lady’s transfer..known to you.. from NTPC Chairman. I spoke to him. That was certainly not a favour as i tried balancing all my duties and respect for you all none of you could take a stand for me.
My fault…I came and spoke to you that yes I requested for providing a vehicle to a frnd that to from a personal friend in Essar and not as a company executive. If I was guilty of a wrong doing I wouldn’t have come to you.
Arnab asked me to speak to Anjali Bansal of Spencer and Stuart and other headhunters for his wife’s job and the head hunter dealing with Oracle account. I spoke to them and tried to help him. That was certainly not a favour.
But what I have done to help a third person is a favour.
Gaurav Chodhury [Business Bureau Chief at HT] takes all corporate gifts including I-tab, gold coin and other expensive gifts and PR guys are there to disclose that…none of this is favour. He asks them to leave these things home and not in office.
Why am I then being made to plead guilty by be believing a email which the company had said is fabricated. Just that I came and told you. This is the price I have to pay for being honest. I could hv also easily dismissed it. Why then none of you stood by me.
I am deeply hurt sir.
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Dawes confirmed to us that he did receive an email from Ms Airy in an email response to Newslaundry.
Below is his response to our email:
Ms Airy drew these allegations to our attention last night, shortly after she chose to resign instead of participating in an inquiry into her own conduct. That inquiry would have been a good opportunity to ventilate her concerns, and to provide substantive evidence in support of her claims. It is regrettable that she has not done so.
Nevertheless, we take these issues extremely seriously. The ability to demonstrate genuine independence, honesty, and transparency are critical to the trust our readers place in us. We will be reviewing the ethical environment across our newsroom operations comprehensively in the coming months, with a view to strengthening both our formal controls and our culture. We will not shy away from investigating individual transgressions that may emerge in this process, and we will take appropriate action where it is indicated, but we will also be thorough and deliberate. We do not believe it is wise or fair to make public statements against named individuals in the absence of both evidence, and a right-of-reply. That is the standard we applied in the case of Ms Airy and that we will continue in our ongoing efforts to strengthen newsroom standards.
Below please find individual responses from Sanjoy Narayan, Arnab Mitra, and Gaurav Choudhury:
The allegations implied in this email are baseless, false, libellous and potentially damaging to me.
As for sponsorship of HT Summit, the financing of the event is the responsibility of the company’s events division and not of the editorial department.
It is true that I had asked her to sound out some companies (I had not specified Essar or Reliance) to see if my book could be bought for corporate gifting. However, the editor-in-chief of HT refused permission for the same as there was a conflict of interest between my role as National Business Editor and the author of the book. So, I told her not to proceed with the matter. To the best of my knowledge, neither Reliance nor Essar bought copies of my book. No meeting was ever arranged with any headhunter by Anupama for my wife.
Regarding tweets: Yes, I asked all my friends and colleagues to tweet on my book as there was no conflict of interest involved.
I have not taken any so-called “vehicle support” from her in Mumbai or in any other city.
As these answers show, I have not taken any favours.