Chitra Subramaniam

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Chitra Subramaniam Duella is an Indian journalist and one of India's best known media personalities. She is famous for her investigation of the Bofors-India Howitzer deal (Bofors Scandal) which is widely believed to have contributed to the electoral defeat of former prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The News Minute - an online news website. [1]

Personal life[edit]

Born in India and educated at Delhi and Stanford Universities, Chitra lives in Switzerland where she heads CSDconsulting, a marketing and business development company that promotes ethical business practices. She is listed in the Who's Who of south Asian women. [2]

Career[edit]

Chitra joined India Today, an Indian news magazine as a reporter in 1979 and continued to write for it and other Indian publications when she moved to Switzerland in 1983. She was based in Geneva as a United Nations (UN) correspondent when the Swedish State Radio reported in April 1987 that bribes had been paid to Indians and others for the sale of field howitzers to India by the Swedish arms manufacturer, Bofors. Working out of Switzerland and Sweden and reporting for The Hindu, she secured over 300 documents which established the fact of the illegal payments that led to a political turmoil in India. While there was no evidence linking the illegal payments directly to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the money-trail to people close to the Gandhi family was conclusive. The documents also detailed the massive cover-up in India to bury the documents and the Prime Minister lost his mandate as corruption became a major election plank in 1989. When The Hindu abruptly stopped publication of the investigation due to political pressure and internal management disputes, Chitra Subramaniam ceased to work with N. Ram, and moved on to work with Indian newspapers such as The Statesman and The Indian Express, then considered to be India's top newspapers for investigative journalism.

Subramaniam continued to report on the investigations and court proceedings in Switzerland till the Swiss government handed over secret Swiss bank documents with additional details of the payments to the government of India in 1997.

As a UN correspondent, she has reported on various issues including disarmament, the Bosnian war and peace negotiations, the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations that led to the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and human rights. The Hindu.[3]

For her work she has received several journalism awards including the prestigious B.D. Goenka Award and the Chameli Devi Award. She is the author of several books, including; India is for Sale, a New York Times - India, best seller the cover for which was designed by one of India's best known cartoonists Mr. R. K. Laxman. In April 2012, Columbia University's School of Journalism cited a joint article by N. Ram, who headed The Hindu's investigation, and Subramanian [4] among 50 Great Stories since 1915.

In 1997, Chitra Subramaniam was invited by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway to be part of her campaign team for the post of Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Dr. Brundtland was elected as head of the WHO and she announced that global tobacco control was one of her priorities setting up a special project called which oversaw multilateral negotiations between 198 countries to conclude the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first treaty entirely devoted to public health. Chitra Subramaniam led the work initially on media and later in policy analysis and communications. "She reframed the debate on tobacco away from being one focused on individual frailties to one that needed to address tobacco corporate abuses and in so doing built a reinvigorated tobacco control movement. Many of her approaches used in tobacco control continue to be adapted to address other threats to health," said Dr. Derek Yacht, Senior Vice President Pepsi (Health), USA, who worked with Subramaniam at the WHO.

After the successful completion of the FCTC mandate at the WHO, Chitra Subramaniam moved on to set up CSDconsulting csdconsulting.net which has mandates from several companies many of whom are global leaders.

In April 2012, 25 years after L'affaire Bofors came to light, Sten Lindstrom, former head of Swedish police said he was the "deep throat" who explained the modus operandi of the illegal payments when he handed over the documents to Subramaniam. In a wide-ranging interview to her published in The Hoot www.thehoot.org (http://thehoot.org/web/home/story.php?storyid=5884&mod=1&pg=1&sectionId=1) he spoke about probity in public life, the role of whistleblowers in a democracy, freedom of information and the role of the media, etc. The interview became a global story.

[5] [6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Us". http://www.thenewsminute.com. The News Minute. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Chitra Subramaniam". www.sawnet.org. Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Chitra Subramaniam - Gutsy Woman who exposed the Bofors scandal". www.koramangala.com. Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  4. ^ "1989 - Scandal in India". journalism.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  5. ^ "Smoking Guns: Eating Out Of A Foreign Hand". National/Opinion on OutlookIndia.com. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  6. ^ "Journalist who exposed Bofors reveals the politics behind the scam". IndiaToday. Retrieved 2012-04-29.