Sagar, a staff writer with The Caravan, has won the prestigious RedInk Award under the “Politics (Print)” category. He won the story for his story on the Rafale deal, titled, “Papers and Planes: The hidden story of how Ajit Doval and the Modi cabinet undermined Indian interests in the Rafale deal.”
Sagar’s story was published on 16 December 2018. In the article, he touches upon crucial aspects surrounding the controversy and brought to light the role of the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, in the Rafale deal. Through extensive research and thoughtful analysis of the multiple stakeholders involved, and the dubious manner in which the deal was brokered, Sagar provided the reader with new angles to evaluate the situation. He identified how Doval was involved in the Rafale deal negotiations with French representatives without having any legal sanction for the same. Sagar’s story further demonstrated that the Modi cabinet and Doval negotiated a deal that undermined India’s interests by omitting basic terms expected of a government-to-government procurement deal. His article showed how the Indian government went ahead with the Rafale deal without seeking any financial security or legally enforceable guarantee for delivery from either the French government or the jets’ manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.
Sagar’s story was a follow-up to a cover story on the Rafale deal, which appeared in the September 2018 issue of The Caravan. The story looked at how the Modi government’s deal with the French government to purchase Rafale fighter jets benefitted Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group. This, despite Ambani’s lack of aerospace experience, poor reputation for wealth management and project delivery, as well as an accumulated debt amounting to around a trillion rupees. By casting light on the important minutiae of defence procurement procedures and the implications of the Rafale deal on the defence sector in India, Sagar’s cover story raised important questions on an issue of national concern. Read the cover story here.
The RedInk Awards for Excellence in Indian Journalism, are a set of annual awards given by the Mumbai Press Club in India. Instituted in 2010, the award grants national recognition to journalists by a professional body. The RedInk Awards have been instituted to promote best practices among journalists and encourage good quality writing, fair play and high ethical standards. The Caravan has won more than 15 RedInk Awards since its inception for various categories. Last year, The Caravan won the RedInk Award for The Anatomy Of A Fake Surrender by Aruna Chandrasekhar and The Murky Case Of Mangalam TV And The Questions It Raises About The Gender Problem In Malayalam Journalism by Leena Gita Reghunath, under the Environment and Women’s Empowerment & Gender Equity categories respectively.
The RedInk Award comprises of a trophy, a citation and a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.