Consulting Editor, New Delhi with Special Correspondent, Dhaka
Chandan Nandy, one of the most controversial journalists of India, is not stopping at anything. Even after the information given by him has been proven wrong and false, he is bringing new issues forward. Multiple sources in New Delhi have indicated that he is going to put forward a ‘conspiracy theory’ about two murders that took place in Rajshahi, the northern border region of Bangladesh.
Recently, a young leader and a female leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) went to New Delhi and gave this assignment to that Indian journalist. According to sources, a new financial agreement has also been executed with him, the amount of which is higher than before. In the light of this agreement, Chandan Nandy has now promised to field several journalists close to him in Delhi to work for BNP. Tarique Rahman, the acting chair of BNP, who is fleeing to London to avoid legal proceedings, spoke directly to Chandan Nandy through those two leaders of BNP from Delhi, according to the sources.
Chandan Nandy, who was criticized in his home country for a controversial news report on Kulbhushan Yadav a few years ago, had written ahead of the India-US 2+2 meeting that Peter Haas, the US Ambassador to Dhaka, would be in New Delhi on November 10. Mr. Nandi claimed that the US would press India to stand up for its position on Bangladesh at the meeting. But in reality it did not happen. Even later the US Embassy issued a statement saying that the information about Peter Haas’s visit to New Delhi was false. A source close to Chandan Nandy, who frequents New Delhi’s International Club, confirmed to the Bangla Herald that Mr. Nandy himself is under pressure to keep giving false information. Now he is going to bring forward new issues to overcome that pressure.
Bangla Herald has contacted several sources with whom Chandan Nandy, who has a higher degree from the Uited States, regularly talks about Bangladesh. According to those sources, Mr. Nandy is going to publish new news in the light of a ‘conspiracy theory’ that there is a state-level connection with the recent murder of two doctors in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Through this, BNP will get a chance once again to raise complaints against the state forces of Bangladesh to the West. Although the sources of investigators in Rajshahi and Dhaka say that in reality no such information has been found in the investigation of the murders.
Elements of Nandy’s new ‘Conspiracy Theory’
According to a source close to Mr. Nandy, he has been working for the BNP since before the 2018 national election in BD. During that time he also visited Bangladesh several times. His main medium of communication was Zillur Rahman, head of the US funded Central for Governance Studies (CGS) and a talk show host. Sources also said that despite good reports at various times, there is no less uneasiness about Chandan Nandy in his own country. Many even believe that Mr. Nandy was chosen by several outside agencies who have their interests in India, because his father was an intelligence officer of that country. Many in New Delhi suspect the same reason behind his keen interest in Bangladesh.
A senior Bengali-speaking journalist of a Delhi media, whose father was also a famous media person, in response to a question recently told Bangla Herald on the condition of anonymity that Mr. Nandy has had the opportunity to build close relationships in various circles of New Delhi since the beginning due to his father’s identity. But the involvement of some foreign agencies with him has been discussed for a long time in Delhi’s journalist circles.
Sources close to Chandan Nandy claim that two young BNP leaders from Dhaka, one male and one female, met Mr. Nandy directly in New Delhi recently. At that time, he was told to talk to the fugitive Tarique Rahman, the son of Khaleda Zia, in London. Sources claim that the two leaders of BNP have also renewed a new financial agreement with Chandan Nandy. Since then, Mr. Nandy started investigating the Rajshahi murders. As per the recent understanding with BNP, he will allege state involvement in these killings in his news. It will be said in the complaint that the state has chosen the path of this killing to suppress the opposition. After that, the BNP will present a new complaint against the Awami League government to the West.
In that case, the use of white microbuses is a common factor in the terror incidents in Rajshahi, so Mr. Nandy is getting an opportunity to create a ‘conspiracy theory’. However, it is not yet certain whether the white microbuses were the same or different.
Sources close to Mr. Nandy also said that the Indian journalist was trying to collect CCTV footage of the incident through a man dismissed from a foreign embassy in Rajshahi for serious misconduct. The Bangladeshi man is befriended by a local police officer who has access to CCTV footage.
Sources also said that Mr. Nandy was not satisfied with India’s stance on Bangladesh during the recent US-India 2+2 meeting in Delhi. That is why he wrote after the meeting: “India’s stand on November 10 reflected that it was willing to continue supporting the ruling Awami League. Perhaps it has a grand design to pave the return to power of Sheikh Hasina.”
Several attempts were made on behalf of Bangla Herald to contact Chandan Nandy regarding the issues but he did not respond.
What is the reality?
Three incidents are important in the assignment that Chandan Nandy is trying to proceed with. All three are again at the same place, Rajshahi.
First incident: On October 4, Shaheen Alam, a TV-fridge trader in Harian Bazar, was hacked inside his shop. At that time, when the others advanced on his screams, the attackers fled in a white microbus after firing shots. But he survives.
The second incident: Village doctor Ershad Ali Dulal was picked up in a white microbus in a ‘filmy style’ from his chamber in Kistogram Bazar of Paba Upazila in the evening of October 29. He was killed by six stab wounds on his two thighs in Cityhat area of Rajshahi. While picking him up, when bystanders came forward, the microbus sped away, hurling bullets and cocktails.
Third incident: On October 29, around 12:15 pm, Dr. Ghulam Kazem Ali Ahmad, a dermatologist and venereologist, was stabbed to death. He had three perfect stab wounds along his heart. A white microbus is also used in this.The second incident: On October 29, around 12:15 pm, Dr. Ghulam Kazem Ali Ahmad, a dermatologist and venereologist, was stabbed to death. He had three perfect stab wounds along his heart. A white microbus is also used in this.
When asked, Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) Commissioner Biplab Vijay Talukdar said that the police have got footage of the white microbus on the CCTV camera in three incidents. However, there is still no evidence that all three microbes are identical. The matter is under investigation. The police must inform the media if they find anything, he added.
But Bangla Herald’s investigation has revealed some information, which gives a hint of personal conflict behind the incidents. The deceased Dr. Kazem Ali’s father, retired teacher Golam Mortuza Montu, recently claimed that Kazem’s wife and family members may be involved in his son’s murder. However, the police have not yet said anything final about this. Because the deceased’s wife herself filed this case as a plaintiff.
Regarding the murder of another doctor, Ershad Ali Dulal, a police source said that many people thought that the modus operandi was the same in the two incidents on the same night, but the investigation has already revealed several differences. One of them is that Dulal was kidnapped from his shop. Later he was killed and his body was dumped. But It was not done in the case of Dr. Kazem. He was killed on the spot. Besides, Dulal had a business of buying and selling land. This matter is also being investigated.
Nothing new with Mr. Nandy
Creating news with false information is nothing new in Chandan Nandy’s career. He has been criticized for this several times before. But the biggest controversy arose at his previous workplace, The Quint. This online news portal in India was created by some journalists who left the News18 network. But it was there that Mr. Nandy spread a fake news story, which the authorities were later forced to take down.
A responsible officer of Delhi’s South Block told Bangla Herald on condition of anonymity that Chandan Nandy’s false news was taken by Pakistan. As a result, the Indian government ended up in an embarrassing situation. Since then, I suspected Mr. Nandy of having a strong connection with Pakistan in one way or another, added the diplomat.
The controvercy was about Mr. Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is an Indian citizen and a former Navy man who has been arrested in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan on the grounds of terrorism and spy work on the behalf of Indian Intelligence Agency, Research and Analysis Wing. But the question which is highlighted is how much Pakistan’s words hold credibility, as the Indian Government has denied all the accusation of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s involvement in any kind of spy work. As reported by the Indian foreign ministry on 10 April 2017, Kulbhushan Jadhav was “kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly.”
Pakistan with their delusional accusation moved further and sentenced Mr. Jadhav to death on 10 April 2017 by a field general Court Martial in Pakistan. Following this event on 18 May 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the judgment of Field Court of Pakistan. India’s and Mr. Yadhav’s interest is being advocated in the International Court of Justice by Harish Salve, while Khawar Qureshi is advocating on the behalf of Pakistan.
Following all this event, The Quint published an article stating that the Journalist Chandan Nandy had a talk with two former Raw Chiefs, of whom one was opposed to the idea of employing Mr. Jadhav as a spy but Mr. Jadhav was taken in by the other Raw Chief. But the loophole in his story was the fact that there was no name given under his article, and not only that, the Quint took down Mr. Nandy’s article on the grounds of checking facts. Even the Quint had doubts about their journalist’s story. Now that Chandan Nandy has been playing a game with the Indo-Bangla relationship, the South Block diplomat ended up.