Flix Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 05:30
    In what appears to be a case of one media group taking on the other, the Deccan Chronicle newspaper reported on its front-page on Saturday that the ‘Times Group wants to ‘manage’ a R 70 crore event for Andhra Pradesh.’   Through the tongue-in-cheek piece, Deccan Chronicle has indirectly accused that there is a conflict of interest if a company belonging to the Times Group secures a contract to manage an event worth Rs 70 crore for the Chandrababu Naidu government.   The report here says that the move by the Andhra Pradesh government to hand over an event of such high scale has “aroused a lot of curiosity and criticism”. According to the report, the contract has been awarded to company allegedly owned by the Times Group under the Swiss Challenge method to organize an event called Investment Summit in Vishakhapatnam in October. Curiously, there is no mention of which company it is, or whether the deal has been confirmed.    The Swiss Challenge system is a new method of awarding contracts by the government in which a party makes an unsolicited proposal or bid to the government for a particular project which the government then makes public inviting bids from third parties to either match or better the proposal. If the third party making the counter proposal is successful, the contract is awarded to it.   The report takes a dig at Times Now’s News Hour hosted by Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami who had reportedly taken on Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to task in May for spending Rs 100 crore of tax-payers’ money on renovating his official and personal residences and on chopper rides, when the state was reeling under revenue deficit of Rs 16,200 crore.   Going a step further, it asks that “the nation now wants to know” if the additional expenditure worth Rs 70 crore would aid the state that is already under financial crisis and if Goswami would debate this issue “equally passionately”.   Interestingly, the Deccan Chronicle report does not mention its direct competitor in Hyderabad, the Times of India, which had reported on Naidu’s extravagant spending on May 3, even before Times Now   “The Times Now story was telecast on May 4, lambasting the Naidu government for “squandering Rs 45 crore on his personal residence and another Rs 25 crore on his official residence as well as spending more money for trips within India and to Japan, Singapore etc”, says Chronicle.   The report mentioning Times Now incidentally comes at a time when the channel has been running a campaign questioning Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu over 29 people losing their lives in a stampede at the Godavari Pushkaram.