The Caravan’s Nileena MS wins ACJ Award for investigative journalism

03 May, 2019

Nileena MS, a reporting fellow with The Caravan, has won the prestigious ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism in print/online category for the year 2018. She was nominated for her story titled “Coalgate 2.0: The Adani Group reaps benefits worth thousands of crores of rupees as the coal scam continues under the Modi government.”

Nileena’s article appeared in the March 2018 issue of The Caravan, as its cover story. Her investigative piece revealed how a joint venture between Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited—a power corporation of the Rajasthan Government—and Adani Enterprises Limited continues to function on the basis of agreements that pre-date a landmark Supreme Court judgement from September 2014. The judgement cancelled nearly all existing permissions for captive mining of coal blocks, and was widely seen as having halted the “Coalgate” scam, The court’s decision had led to the dissolution of partnerships between state-owned enterprises and private companies across the country that mostly favored corporate profit over public good.

The ACJ award comprises a trophy, citation and a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.

The Asian College of Journalism, with the support of the Media Development Foundation, instituted the ACJ awards in 2015 to encourage and inspire journalists, editors and newsrooms to pursue and produce more rigorous investigative work for an Indian audience, and that raises the standards of journalism and contributes to the larger public interest. The Caravan had won the inaugural ACJ award in 2015. Nilita Vachani, won the award for her report, “Inside Job,” which looked into the conviction of the hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam for insider trading. The report was published in The Caravan’s November 2015 issue.

Nikita Saxena, a staff writer with The Caravan, also received an honourable mention from the Awards Jury for her reporting on the death of the judge BH Loya. She reported that testimonies of employees of Ravi Bhawan, the government guesthouse where Loya is said to have stayed in Nagpur the night he died, raised troubling questions regarding accounts given by judges who claimed to present there. Saxena also investigated the alleged manipulation of Loya’s post-mortem report by Dr Makarand Vyawahare, who has strong connections with the BJP.