What is the reward for getting an interview with US President George Bush? Certainly not paying with one’s job? But this is precisely what has happened to Amitabha Chakrabarti, ADG, News & Current Affairs, Doordarshan, who has been removed from his post and shifted to the almost defunct Research, Reference and Training Division (RR&TD) of the I&B Ministry.
Chakrabarti’s fault? He interviewed the US President just before his historic visit to India without seeking permission from the Shastri Bhawan mandarins, which infuriated the later because, as a source in the Prasar Bharati puts it, “Let alone going in for a foreign trip, we here have to ask to the ministry before going to the loo!”
Sources said that Chakrabarti took the risk knowing the ground reality because there was not enough time in hand to appeal to the Ministry, which takes anywhere between a month to 45 days to sanction a foreign trip. “Definitely Bush could not have waited till then,” quipped an official.
Another thing that might have gone against Chakrabarti is his interview to Voice of America’s Bangla service elaborating his experience while interviewing Bush.
Chakrabarti has been replaced by Arvind Manjit Singh at Doordarshan News, a 1984 batch IIS officer.
Chakrabarti, a senior IIS officer of 1971 batch, is admired for his professionalism and high journalistic standards. Before joining as ADG at DD News, he served as the correspondent of AIR and Doordarshan in the US.