The controversial book “Sahara: The Untold Story” was finally launched in the Capital

The cardinal principal of journalism is objectivity. Maintaining impartiality was uppermost in his mind, says seasoned business journalist Tamal Bandyopadhyay, while penning his second book titled “Sahara: The Untold Story”, which explains how the conglomerate operates. The author knew every sentence he wrote would have to be backed up with hard facts and irrefutable evidence.

Before embarking on the challenging task of writing the book, Tamal, Deputy Managing Editor of Mint, interviewed a cross-section of professionals, and photocopied reams of documents to understand the modus operandi of the group.

Having spent years in newsrooms, Tamal was curious to discover new facets about the larger-than-life personality of Subrata Roy Sahara. He wanted to comprehend how Sahara was managing a group with multiple business interests and numerous employees.

Finally, Tamal succeeded in conducting an exclusive interview with Roy and inundated him with queries relating to business decisions and his proximity to politicians.

Roy explains his decision to sponsor the Indian cricket team, his relationship with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his closeness with Missionaries of Charity head the late Mother Teresa. The author has also touched upon corporate social responsibility of the group.

Releasing the book at Oxford Book Store recently, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai complimented the author for going to great depths to write this book. “It is an exceedingly well researched book bringing out a balanced viewpoint.”

To cross-check answers given by Roy, the author despatched a copy of the two-hour-long interview to him. Some corrections were made here and there and then returned to him. However, Tamal asserts that the decision to send the complete book to Sahara was not his.

“I would have never sent the book to Sahara. It was Jaico Publishing House’s decision.” Advance copies were sent to Sahara towards November end. The book ran into rough weather as Sahara India Parivar moved the Calcutta High Court in December. It got a stay on the book’s publication, and slapped a Rs.200 crore defamation suit against the author and the publisher.

Sahara’s decision to go to court was one of the most stressful moments in Jaico’s nearly 70-year history.

As a big relief to the publisher and the author in particular, an agreement with Sahara was reached. On the jacket itself, the book runs a disclaimer, which categorically asserts that the book “is based on a particular notion, wrong perceptions supported by limited and skewed information. Hence, it does not reflect the true and complete picture.”