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Archives for : think fest

What if Robert De Niro was questioned by the Goa police?

English: Robert De Niro at 43rd Karlovy Vary I...

English: Robert De Niro at 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Français : Robert De Niro au 43 e Festival international du film de Karlovy Vary. Русский: Роберт де Ниро на 43-м Международном кинофестивале в Карловых Варах Türkçe: ABD’li aktör Robert De Niro 43. Karlovy Vary Uluslararası Film Festivali’nde, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


by Deepanjana Pal Jan 22, 2014








It has been widely reported that Goa police’s Crime Branch has been trying to get hold of actor Robert De Niro, to question him about the rape charges against former Tehelka editor, Tarun Tejpal. The Goa police has sent the actor a questionnaire about the time he spent in Goa last year, as a participant in the THiNK fest.




When the actor didn’t respond, a reminder was sent. However, there has been no reply from the actor. Unfazed by this, the Crime Branch’s efforts to locate De Niro have continued unabated reportedly. Our highly unreliable sources in Goa Police have told us that the local Crime Branch has, in fact, contacted De Niro by phone and sent us a transcript of the conversation between Assistant Sub Inspector Prabhat Naik and De Niro as proof.








Due to non-response from Mr. Robert De Niro to questionnaire sent pertaining to the investigation of Tarun Tejpal, it was decided there should be greater efforts to secure his cooperation. To this end, ASI Prabhat Naik was assigned the task of establishing contact with Mr. De Niro. ASI Naik requested a prepaid Tata Photon Whiz connection (see request number 2395/024-OC-23; copy attached) and using the aforementioned internet connection, ASI Naik was able to procure Mr. De Niro’s phone number. A request was then filed for an ISD connection on ASI Naik’s office landline (see request number 3405/948-OC-45; copy attached), in order to contact Mr. De Niro. The request was granted and contact between Mr. De Niro and ASI Naik was established on January 19th, 2014. After serious consideration, it is advised that this conversation be expunged from official record and Goa Police wait instead for Mr. De Niro’s written reply to the questionnaire.




Please see attached transcript for further explanation.




NOTE: ASI refers to ASI Prabhat Naik and RDN refers to Robert De Niro.




ASI: Hello?




RDN: Hey sport. How ya doin?




ASI: Myself, Assistant Sub-Inspector Prabhat Naik this side. You are Mister Robert De Niro of Hollywood, Los Angeles, yes? Sir, you have not replied to questionnaire we have sent you regarding case of sexual assault and rape against Mister Tarun Tejpal. Sir, when you will send reply? Courtesy: Facebook




RDN: You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who the *&^% do you think you’re talking to?




ASI: Sir, please maintain calm. There is no need to be agitated. As I said previously, myself Assistant Sub-Inspector Prabhat, from Crime Branch, Goa. Yes, I am talking to you. I am calling to talk to you about Mister Tarun Tejpal. We have sent you questionnaire. You have received? About the case against Mister Tejpal?




RDN: I heard some things.




ASI: That is very good news, sir. You will put down what you are hearing in the questionnaire we have sent you?




RDN: There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it.




ASI: Ok, sir. How do you want to do it?




RDN: Are you a cop? Or were you a cop? Or were not good enough to remain on the force? ‘Cause you know what? That’s the feeling I’m getting here.




ASI: Mister De Niro, please control yourself. It is criminal offense to insult a police officer. I am with Goa Police, Crime Branch and I have my own ISD connection. Please show respect. I have asked you very politely to share with me all that you know of the night when the alleged rape took place. Please don’t provoke me.




RDN: Know somethin’ Mikey? You make me laugh. You know that?




ASI: Naik, my name is Naik. Not Mike.




RDN: I’m gonna ask you one. Who are you working for?




ASI: Goa police, Crime Branch. Now, should we talk about Mister Tejpal and the incident?




RDN: Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.




ASI: You are saying Mister Tejpal is your friend?




RDN: Are you my friend? Are you my friend?




ASI: No, Mister De Niro, I am not your friend. Please do not try to distract me. We are talking about your relations with Mister Tejpal. RDN: The guy is history as far as I’m concerned. History.




ASI: I see. Why do you say that?




RDN: I would say he has quite a few problems. His energy seems to go in the wrong places.




ASI: What are these wrong places, Mister De Niro?




RDN: This is the end result of all the bright lights, and the comp trips, and all the champagne, and free hotel suites, and all the broads and all the booze.




ASI: I understand. So you are saying all this led to Mister Tejpal committing the crime he is charged with.




RDN: Me? I wouldn’t even be in this situation if it wasn’t for you.




ASI: That’s not true, Mister De Niro. You are in this situation because Mister Tejpal had you at his cultural programme last year. RDN: I make him an offer he don’ refuse




. ASI: You made Mister Tejpal an offer?




RDN: Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.




ASI: Mister De Niro, you will please explain what you mean? You were with Mister Tejpal and the victim on the night the incident took place, yes?




RDN: I was in the building? You know damn well I was at that dinner.




ASI: Dinner?




RDN: Don’t overcook it. You overcook it, it’s no good.




ASI: You are cooking?




RDN: I’m standing here; you make the move. You make the move. It’s your move.




ASI: I feel there is some miscommunication here. Perhaps we should move on to the victim. Please describe your impression of the victim?




RDN: She appeared like an angel.




ASI: So you are saying she is woman of good character. You are aware that Mister Tejpal has accused her of being too modern and said she is making up rape charges against him.




RDN: I got respect for this kid. She’s got a lot of **&^ing balls. Good for you! Don’t take no shit off no body.




ASI: Please Mister De Niro, there is no need for this kind of language, even if you are having the good intentions. Why do you think Mister Tejpal is saying she is lying?




RDN: Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.




ASI: I am not understanding. What is this schmuck?




RDN: I’m gonna tell you something. Somebody messes with me, I’m gonna mess with with him. Somebody steals from me, I’m gonna say you stole. Not talk to him for spitting on the sidewalk. Understand?




ASI: Mister De Niro, I feel your are getting too agitated. If you have a case of theft, kindly report to your local police station. Can you please talk about Mister Tejpal? This is an ISD phone call and we have been talking for a long time now. I must have some answers from you.




RDN: What’s the *%$*ing matter with you? What are you, stupid or what? Tommy, Tommy, I’m kidding with you.




ASI: Who is Tommy? Do you call Mister Tejpal Tommy? I am not Mister Tejpal. Or Tommy. I am Prabhat Naik, assistant sub-inspector.




RDN: There was an impulse that we were both following. So that gave me the right to come in and talk to you. Otherwise I never would have felt that I had the right to talk to you or say anything to you. I never would have had the courage to talk to you. And with him I felt there was nothing and I could sense it. When I walked in, I knew I was right. Did you feel that way?




ASI: Means?




RDN: Let me tell you, I know you don’t want to listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine, and I am telling you you gotta pay attention this time. When life reaches out at a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, I’m telling you its a sin if you don’t reach back! It’ll haunt you the rest of your days like a curse. So don’t $%^* this up.




ASI: I will do my best, sir. Mister De Niro, I am afraid I must end this questioning here because the telephone bill will become too high. Thank you so much for your time.




RDN: I will be watching you.




ASI: Thank you, sir. END OF QUESTIONING. Sadly, we cannot verify the authenticity of this transcript but we leave it to the reading public to reach its own conclusions.




Read more at:




  • #India – Tehelka Rape case – Goa Police writes letter to Robert De Niro #Vaw (


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Open letter to all Speakers at #THiNK2013, Goa, actually the #STiNK2013

Dear Speaker 
We understand that you are scheduled to speak at the ‘Think ‘13 Festival’ being organized by Tehelka at the Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa from 8th to 10th November 2013.
We bring to your kind attention the following brief facts regarding the said event:
  1. Most of the sponsors are alleged to be involved in major illegal activities such as illegal mining scams, telecom scam, Radiatapes, Sponsorship of Salwa Judum, environmental destruction and displacement of indigenous communities.
  2. The organizer of the event is collaborating with the illegal acts of these corporations. The refusal to expose illegal mining in Goa, in spite of having a story researched by one of their own journalists much before it became Public knowledge, amounts to covering up the illegal mining and allowing the wanton destruction (done by the same corporations who are sponsoring the event now).
  3. The venue is a construction in violation of CRZ laws.
  4. The event is for the very rich only, as is evident from the entry charges.
It is very clear that holding this event is only an attempt to create a clean image for the same corporations who are alleged to be involved in massive scams, environmental destruction and displacement of indigenous communities.
We therefore request you to kindly boycott the event, or, announce your disapproval of, or, non-association with, the tainted corporations and their anti-people acts.
Thanking you,
Members of the Goan Society, including John Fernandes, Benaulim; Zarina Da Cunha, Nuvem; Abhijit Prabhudesai, Curtorim; Sidharth Karapurkar, Navelim; Rony Dias, Cuncolim; Fr. Victor Ferrao, Rachol; Cassian Furtado, Varca and many others




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#India – Tehelka’s #THiNK2013 – The Unbearable Stench of Blood Money is #STiNK2013 #mustread





STiNK2013 – The Unbearable Stench of Blood Money


When the fourth estate is peddled like real estate, when journalism and dirty business collude, and when Orwellian ‘doublethink’ becomes the way of the scribes; we can unhesitatingly conclude that the so-called fourth pillar of democracy has been reduced to smithereens, much like the other three pillars.


Since its first edition in 2011, the Tehelka ThinkFest has been seen as a severe blow to the codes of journalism. The first ThinkFest featured the benevolence of the most controversial names in the business world that year, Essar and Tata Steel, both corporations stuck neck deep in a quagmire of accusations, from being involved in mining scams, telecom scams, sponsorship of the Salwa Judum, Radiagate, environmental violations, illegal land grab, forced displacement and several other crimes. But it was no surprise as Tarun Tejpal, the top gun at Tehelka, had earlier been seen that year at the Jaipur Literature Festival defending the event’s sponsorship by criminal corporations like Shell and Rio Tinto; he had essentially argued for his own case. That Tehelka was not the going to organise seminars on rural issues in Jamia Milia auditoriums anymore. That they would now openly solicit endorsements from the very corporations they had exposed in their publications.


Shoma Chaudhury, the Managing Editor of Tehelka, in an interview defended Tehelka’s decision to rake in blood money, saying it was to tell stories of the poor. Since 2012, aside from its problematic coverage of Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi’s cases, the publication seems to have cautiously veered from reporting any scams about Essar and other sponsors.  Even prior to the ThinkFest, the publication was totally mum on the 2010 medieval-era styled pillaging of villages in Odisha’s Kalinga Nagar, where Adivasi communities have been fighting Tata Steel with their lives. In the same NYTimes interview, Shoma mentions how Tehelka refused money from Vedanta, but many might be aware of how Tehelka had once carried a Vedanta press release in the guise of an article glorifying Vedanta’s CSR activities in Lanjigarh & Niyamgiri, attributing it to a reporter who personally claimed that he had not written it.


This year, the Think Fest has amongst its sponsors even more infamous corporations like the Narendra Modi-backed Adani group, land grabbers like DLF and late liquor baron Ponty Chaddha’s Wave. The Adani group is widely known for its illegal land grab for its illegal SEZ and port in Mundra, all facilitated by the Gujrat Govt. It is India’s largest coal importer, biggest private port operator and biggest thermal power producer (read one of India’s biggest polluter). The Modi government has allegedly alloted land to Adani at the rate of Re.1/- per sqm, at least a thousand times less than the market rates. In fact, a CAG report highlights that Adani gained more than Rs.70 crore when the Gujarat government-owned GPSC sold natural gas to it at rates much lower than what it had bought from the open market. Another CAG report says that Adani Power owed at least Rs. 240 cr as a fine to the Gujarat Govt but was officially fined a little more than Rs.79 cr.


After destroying more than a thousand hectares of coastal mangroves and being slapped with a Rs. 200 crore fine, Adani needs all the goodwill that events like ThinkFest can garner for it. After all, it is India’s most indebted company with a debt bill of at least Rs. 65,000 cr while its revenues stand at Rs. 47,000 cr.


The rise of Adani is closely linked to the rise of Narendra Modi in the post-riot situation. Modi needed big business to support him and Adani fulfilled that role. In return Adani was given a free run to devastate nature and society and rise from a mere Rs.3,300 cr company to a Rs. 47,000 cr company within a decade. With Modi’s blessings Adani has grown rapidly and made inroads across the nation and world. While its proposed coalfields in Australia are going to be one of the single largest producer of greenhouse gases, in Odisha, the company’s goons have been seen orchestrating attacks on activists like Prafulla Samantara, who are opposing the massive proposed coalfields in Angul. The infamous Tata port at Dhamra, which is devastating Olive Ridley nesting grounds, is slated to be taken over by Adani soon.


While one could get stuck on Adani, there’s a long list of logos that make up ThinkFest’s Patrons that need to be talked about. Essar, for instance, continues to be one of the chief patrons of the event. If this video from the first fest is anything to go by, Neena Tejpal herself admits that Essar and Tehelka essentially share the same values, at a time when the memory of Essar’s role in the telecom scam, in supporting the Salwa Judum, its illegal diversion of water from river Mahanadi and land grab in Jagatsingpur for a steel factory where displaced people are protesting, was fresh in our minds. Essar’s relationship with Modi, of course, reads out like a jaded Bollywood love story– with Shasi Ruia accompanying Namo on foreign tours to Switzerland and South Korea, making promises of undying investment at Vibrant Gujarat summits, falling out in the face of 8000 crore sales tax dues, being caught in a compromising position by the CAG and eventually making up.


Also on the red carpet of sponsors are JSW Steel, pulled up by both the Lokayukta and the CBI in connection with the Karnataka mining scam, causing a windfall Rs. 890 crore loss to the exchequer in resources, just as JSW wired a hefty thank-you in the form Rs 20 crore donation to Yedyurappa’s son’s trust for turning a blind eye to its excesses.


Iconic scammers DLF, whose large-scale land-grabbing stunts have even found mention in Tehelka, are presenting the John Pilger session, if only to add to the irony that the ThinkFest is the perfect example of the industrial-military-media complex that Pilger always endeavored to expose.


A session with Medha Patkar (quite a feat to get her to endorse an event sponsored by Coca Cola), Bianca Jagger and a former Maoist revolutionary is being presented by a defense equipment manufacturer, Pipavav, just as disarmament activist Binalakshmi Nepram is also a speaker at the event. Pipavav has just been awarded a 920 crore contract to build warships for the Indian coast guard.


Other sponsors include chronic polluters and cartelists United Phosphorous, who slapped a 25 crore defamation lawsuit against activist Rohit Prajapati for exposing pollution at their VAPI plant. United Phosphorous also leads the race in Mumbai’s garbage scam to process the city’s waste in its Deonar dump for a whopping cost of Rs. 26,000 crore, and displace those amongst its poorest who make their living from garbage.  To stir up some local angst, Goan mining companies also feature on the list of sponsors.


If that wasn’t enough to fill one up with disgust, the line-up of speakers is no less. Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, BJD MP often seen on TV defending Naveen Patnaik’s corporate resource grabbing, a high-flying mining and cable TV baron, is being heralded as “The Golden Boy…clearly a doer, a technocrat eager to set an example of good governance and efficiency”. This “‘accidental politician’ irritated by the inefficiencies of the country still beset by many of the problems of the ‘licence raj’” is no less than an Adani. His mining company, IMFA, availed of loan waiver from the amounting to over Rs. 2000 crore from the Naveen Patnaik government in 2007.


Then again, Panda hasn’t had a fraction of the good times that Vijay Mallaya has gotten away with. And yet here is, presented by Tehelka as ‘the Maverick Mogul’, his achievements listed as “bringing back to the country the sword of Tipu Sultan, Mahatma Gandhi’s eyeglasses” and “an annual calendar shoot with stunning models” (not necessarily in that order, but well, “it says as much about Mallya as the balance sheets do.”)


THiNK is a celebration where people like Nandan Nikelani, Vijay Mallya and Jay Panda will be promoted endlessly to the point that all their past misdeeds are pushed out of our consciousness into oblivion.


While a few names like Medha Patkar, Bianca Jagger and John Pilger on the guest list might make  Think seem like an honorable seminar to attend, just a little digging exposes it as a vulgar celebration of dirty blood money appropriating a journalistic organisation that was, until now, seen as a torchbearer of truth and progressive values.


It is understandable that there is no outcry from the general public, who might buy the general rhetoric of the sponsored bottomline. But for those in the know, those who’ve seen the truth behind the logos, who’ve resisted it in their own capacities, and who have yet chosen to actively engage with or ignore the goings-on on this rotten stage, it raises uncomfortable questions.


It signals an era where even vociferous dissenters believe that struggles cannot exist unless legitimised by the media, just as the avenues of getting an uncomfortable story covered are rapidly shrinking in the face of media corporatisation. It makes even the socially defiant among us afraid to call out this mainstream masquerade and risk the chance of never being invited to the ball.

As it trivialises and capitalises on the very pillars that it stands on, ThinkFest forces us all to do a double-think on what kind of inconvenient truths and truth-tellers we can live with, as the lines blur.



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