Stage set for ouster of FCC of South Asia’s “corrupt” president Munish Gupta

Stage set for ouster of FCC of South Asia’s “corrupt” president Munish Gupta

Stage set for ouster of FCC of South Asia’s “corrupt” president Munish Gupta

All past office-bearers group together to bring back bonhomie at the foreign journalists club

Delhi Crown Bureau

New Delhi: Stage seems all set at the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) of South Asia, situated in the heart of the Indian capital, for the ouster of “president” Munish Gupta, even as all past office-bearers and members of the Managing Committee have joined hands in a bid to bring back the Club’s lost glory and bonhomie.

Gupta has been accused of spreading bitterness, enmity and vindictiveness at the Club by resorting to police action and court cases against the members who questioned his style of functioning, instead of settling the issues amicably within the Club.

“Till a few years ago, or (in other words) ever since Gupta joined the Club, the FCC of South Asia used to be a cool and calm place, with absolutely no police action or court cases. It was a silent and perfect meeting place for foreign and Indian journalists. But its basic fabric has been ruined by Gupta over the years. We saw a spate of brawls, and police and court cases, happening here over the past two years. All these years we used to select/elect our President by consensus, but today the Club has almost tuned into a battle-ground. All because of Munish Gupta,” said a former president of the Club who writes for a newspaper belonging to an island nation.

Members at large are learnt to have made up their mind to oust Gupta in the elections to be held next week, even as two past presidents, as many as six ex-Treasurers, and three former Secretaries, besides others who had been on the Managing Committee, have all joined hands against him (Munish Gupta).

“Gupta, who stands isolated today, is trying his every bit to win his second stint, has appointed one of his cronies as the Returning Officer (R.O.) for holding elections in an online mode, i.e. through email, and then manipulate the elections results in his favour  by getting himself declared as president-elect,” said one the former Treasurers.

He further stated that one of the senior members of the Club has filed a civil suit before the Patiala House Courts against Gupta’s bid to hold elections in online mode. “The final hearing is scheduled for March 21 (Tuesday). We hope the elections would be held by raising hands or secret ballot as enshrined in our Club’s Constitution, instead of the online mode,” he added.

As per the List of Eligible Voters released by the R.O., as many as 112 members belonging to the Foreign Correspondents (FC) category are eligible to cast their vote. They are primarily foreign (nationals) journalists and Indian journalists working in foreign media.

Ever since he took over (two years ago), Gupta has been accused of disturbing the Club’s friendly culture. Alleging that he is a non-journalist, members of the Club widely accuse him of draining away the Club’s money in paying lawyers’ fees for filing unnecessary court cases against the members, employing his own (undeserving) people at the Club at inexplicably high salaries, pocketing cuts in purchases made and money spent on renovations at the Club, and promoting the overall “businessmen culture” at the Club.

“Munish Gupta, who is seen more as a businessman than a journalist, runs his own YouTube channel – PIO-TV, which hardly has any subscribers or viewers. Neither he draws any income(s) from any foreign media organization, nor is he accredited with the Government of India. Then, how does he enjoy the Foreign Correspondent (FC) category at the Club,” thundered Pankaj Yadav, one of the former Treasurers.

Gupta’s predecessor (president)) is often accused by the members of first granting him the Club’s membership in the FC category in the year 2015-16, and then installing him as the “president” in 2021. It may be recalled that Gupta acted as “Secretary” to his predecessor (president) for two years, virtually running the Club as per his whims and fancies and keeping the “old man” in the dark.

Pankaj Yadav had been harping over the “corrupt and vindictive” deeds of Munish Gupta over the past four years – two years as Secretary and then two years as “President”. “But hardly anyone believed me as he (Gupta) continued to enjoy the confidence of the ‘old man’- his predecessor (president). Now, after the Club has been ruined to the nadir, everyone’s eyes are wide open,” averred Yadav.

Lately, the members realized that Gupta virtually ruined the Club and reduced it to a restaurant with minimal journalistic activities/programmes. Perhaps he stood exposed for not having any journalistic credentials, and simply portraying himself as one, in the “corridors of power” including the ruling BJP and the RSS circles, said a senior member who preferred not to be named.

As many as four members of the Governing Committee, who were elected in 2021 for a two-year term, are not visible on the current Governing Committee as they resigned as a mark-of-protest against Gupta’s “corrupt and dictatorial” ways of functioning.

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