Lot of media recently reported on the Winsome Diamonds’ bank default case and alleged conspiracy to defraud banks by Winsome’s promoter Mr. Jatin Mehta. However, it appears that much of this reporting was shoddy, inaccurate and false. A good amount of this media coverage was done by Indian news channel Times Now. But as soon as some sections of media started probing the story and found out that much of the earlier media stories against Winsome Group was in fact misreporting, Times Now rectified its mistake by removing all videos and content.
Times Now removes all videos on the story
From late April this year, Indian news channel ‘Times Now’ was running a TV series – “Pay India Back”, which ran during primetime slots. One of its stories covered Winsome Diamonds and Mr. Jatin Mehta, alleging not only that they defrauded a consortium of banks but also linking them to some leading industrialists and politicians. However, as soon as the truth behind these ‘stories’ started to surface, Times Now removed all the videos.
One of the videos titled “Exclusive: Adani’s relative the new Vijay Mallya?” was published on Times Now website on 3rd May. However, if one tries to access the video now, it shows a “404 Page Not Found” Error. We were though able to find the snapshot of the page through Google Cache.
On 3rd May, Times Now had also tweeted about the same through their official twitter handle but the video no longer plays.
It is clearly evident that the news channel removed all links related to the misreported coverage as searching any videos or news item about Winsome Diamonds on Times Now website yielded no results.
Why did Times Now remove these videos?
Times Now is a part of Times Group that runs numerous other news channels and some leading newspaper publications. Surprisingly, apart from Times Now, none of the other group media covered the stories as ran by Times Now.
Since there is no apparent explicable reason for them to remove the content and videos, it makes one wonder – Was Times Now misled by someone into believing the story as they reported it?
According to the latest submission of Winsome Diamonds to BSE, on 30th May 2017, legal notices dated 12th May 2017 were sent to the entities operating Times Now channel (Bennet, Coleman & Company Limited and Times Global Broadcasting Company Limited), its director and officers on behalf of Winsome Diamond and Jewellery Limited and Forever Precious Jewellery and Diamond Limited, pointing out that “… the videos aired were false, scandalous and defamatory and the broadcasting thereof was illegal.”
Times Now then removed those videos and in a letter dated 25th May 2017 informed Winsome Diamonds that they have “… kept the video in abeyance from their website www.timesnow.tv”
How credible is DIB’s Chaim Even-Zohar?
Taking the Times Now coverage and doing his tawdry journalism, Israel-based Diamond Intelligence Briefing’s (DIB) lead author Chaim Even-Zohar had published DIB’s latest issue no. 889-890 (Vol. 33) on 10th May 2017 that took yet another dig at Winsome Diamonds and Mr. Jatin Mehta. This is not the first time that Chaim Even-Zohar has attacked Mr. Jatin Mehta, his family and his businesses through false articles. Since years, he has been publishing misleading media reports.
Winsome Diamonds had filed a defamation suit against Chaim Even–Zohar, Tacy Limited and others before India’s Bombay High Court (Suit No. 512 of 2014), claiming damages of USD 1 billion. Chaim in response had removed the DIB articles mentioned in the suit and the same were not available at least in India. Chaim has been evading summons to a billion dollar suit from Winsome for last 3 years. If Chaim and his team had done a true and responsible journalism, then there was no reason to remove those DIB articles and instead fight off the suit filed against him. According to Winsome Diamonds’ 5th May 2017 BSE filing, “Chaim has also been sued in the UAE, but is evading the legal process.”
In 2012, there were reports about diamond mixing, where IGI and DTC (De Beers) had issued trade alerts (surprisingly DTC’s alert was released before IGI’s, but let’s leave it for another day) followed by a DIB issue no. 709 where Chaim Even-Zohar covered about IGI discovering 600 undisclosed Lab-grown diamonds. Antwerp Police had seized the alleged parcel and later upon investigation they turned out to be ‘natural’ (mined) diamonds.
The ‘About Us’ section of DIB Online states “Tacy Ltd. Diamond Industry Consultants is a specialty strategic consultancy house and “think tank” exclusively serving the stakeholders in the international diamond industry”. When one is ‘exclusively serving the stakeholders’ of an industry, one cannot be deemed as unbiased towards public at large and definitely cannot be deemed as an impartial media agency.
In its defense, Winsome Diamonds have responded to and refuted media allegations and have submitted all clarifications and information to Bombay Stock Exchange, where it is listed. In its 5th May 2017 submission to BSE, Winsome Diamonds mentioned
“The present media campaign is a creation of a meeting between Mehul Chowksi (Geetanjali Exports), Nirav Modi (Nirav Modi), Mavji Patel (Kiran Gems), Ashok Gajera (Laxmi Diamonds), Chaim Even Zohar, a representative of De Beers, Dharmesh Shah from Bharat Diamond Bourse with senior most members of publications.”
Considering all these, it cannot be ruled out that media publications like DIB (Tacy/ CEZ Holdings) led by Chaim Even-Zohar are acting on behest of vested interests who wish to see not only Mr. Jatin Mehta, but also his son’s successful Lab-grown diamond business destroyed.