Economic Times Journalist barred by SEBI for forging letters to rig stock pricesAs it is, Financial Journalism is not a high point in the annals of Indian Journalism. In its interim order, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) barred two promoters of Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd, and 228 others, including Rajesh Unnikrishnan, Assistant Editor, The Economic Time.
The Economic Times, India's largest selling business daily, is part of the Bennett Coleman Group. Flushed with cash from its print media operations, the group created Times Private Treaty, an investment group that does dubious 'stock for ads and editorial coverage' deals with companies.
Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd was a client of the said Treaty Operations. The Times Group has special editorial people to deal exclusively with Times Private Treaty clients in all of its major editorial offices.
Result: Hapless journalists who are forced to do what the master says - forget investigative reporting, work on his master's share market earnings.
In the Pyramid Saimira case, the journalist has been accused of forging a letter so that it appears to be a SEBI letter. Not surprisingly, this story has been largely ignored by the business press in India. Among the mainstream newspapers, only the Indian Express and DNA carry it.
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