Vantage point

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm disconnecting my cable connection

Yes, I am disconnecting my cable connection.


To borrow the logic used by the Devgan family for Tata Indicom, insaan cable leta hai entertainment ke liye and since I am already getting loads of entertainment from one particular source, the cable has become redundant.

A few weeks back, I linked to a story carried by JAM magazine which examined the tall claims made by IIPM in its newspaper ads. Some days later I linked to the blog of someone claiming to be an ex-IIPM-ite. The main purpose behind these posts on my blog was to make a few people aware of how these massively embellished ads may be painting an exaggerated picture of their institute's worth.

JAM had done a great job of detailing these embellishments in their article, so I linked to it and asked a few more questions, mainly, what exactly are the educational qualifications of Arindam Chaudhuri? He is touted as a "management guru" and a great thinker. I would like to know his educational qualifications. A faculty member at IIM Lucknow had informed us that Chaudhuri had not managed to clear graduation exams at first attempt. So I naturally wanted to know more about Chaudhuri's resume.

His own website mentions just a few degrees. His own website does not tell us which universities or institutes he got his BA, MA, and Diploma in I.E. from. The only insti mentioned is.... surprise suprise.... IIPM itself which awarded him with an MBA(!), and also awarded him with.... bigger surprise surprise... an 'Academic Gold Medal'.

Now very frankly, I forgot about this issue after the posts, moved on with my life, watched more cable TV for entertainment. Until 4th October when this mail landed in my inbox, making cable TV redundant. I almost fell off my chair laughing!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Legal Cell, IIPM
Date: Oct 4, 2005 4:03 PM
Subject: Notarized first notice of legal summons

First Notice of legal summons to you
Warning: This email has been judicially notarized and has been tagged to validate receipt and response

Notice: IIPM/DZI1/2005/44

Date: 4th October 2005

Subject: False articles released by you on IIPM on (reference

I am the head of the legal and compliance counsel at The Indian Institute of Planning & Management (IIPM) New Delhi, India.

This notice is with respect to your releasing totally false articles about IIPM on the website (reference that has your clear reference and that has been released by you with proven deliberate and fraudulent intentions to harm the image of IIPM and related businesses. The articles have caused unfathomable damage to the reputation of IIPM and to its various operational areas. The articles further have affected innumerable future operations of IIPM. We have legally notarized and logged all the releases and are sending you this email to you as the first notice of proposed legal, judicial and criminal action against you that has already been approved & cleared by the Post Graduate Fellow Programme committee at IIPM. Even though the damage caused by your deliberate and fraudulent intentions cannot be calculated, the proposed filing would involve an immediate damage claim from you of Rs.125 Crores; apart from other various losses (including, but not restricted to opportunity losses, sales losses, legal costs and associated expenses). Corollary claims and subsequent parallel criminal and civil actions are being notified further on.

We are also providing your details to respective national and regional police authorities for undertaking and implementing immediate arrest warrants against you. We are also providing your details to various corporations within India and abroad to inform them about the judicial, legal and police action against you; thus ensuring that your details are well documented.

However, in case you undertake the following actions immediately, and provide evidence of such actions being completed by October 8th 2005, we shall formally withhold the abovementioned proceedings against you:

1. Immediately remove all articles related to IIPM from all domains under your purview, including but not restricted to the domains and

2. Immediately notify all your affiliate partners and other relevant websites to remove any links to any news of IIPM that they have received from you. You have to also ensure that these websites follow instructions as you would be held responsible for any continued display of the abovementioned item in question and future unapproved references to IIPM of any kind in any type of a media vehicle.

3. Immediately release an apology notice (after getting the text approved from our offices) on all domains under your authority that clearly mentions that you had mistakenly released the article and are withdrawing the same unconditionally. The same should also be sent to us.

4. Refrain in the future from releasing any news item containing IIPM's reference without the prior explicit written approval of IIPM.

Be warned, your telephone numbers, physical addresses thereon, login details, network access mechanisms have all been documented, notarized and legally ratified through google and, thus ensuring that any arrest warrants can be served and implemented on you within one day.

Your formal response shall be expected by the 12 noon (Indian Standard Time) of 6th October 2005 ; failing which, we shall proceed with the parallel arrest proceedings against you.


President, Legal and Compliance Cell
The Indian Institute of Planning & Management
Level 0, IIPM Tower 1
B-27, Qutab Institutional Area
New Delhi - 110016, India
Phone: +91-11-51799900; Fax: +91-11-51799911


Wow, my own first ever lawsuit!!

The action is not limited only to the "legal" front. A lot of action has apparently been happening online too.

Sinfully Pinstripe had written a post on his blog, linking to the JAM article, and a few other blogs. Somebody named arun r left a comment on this post saying -

IIPM Rankings - An article by a dubious small-time publication called JAMMAG on IIPM was sponsored by Amity, it turns out. Aaj tak ran a sting operation where it was revealed on camera that JAMMAG, accepted money in cash from Amity group of educational institutions to write a negative story on IIPM, Amity's cmopetitor for business education programs at the post graudate and undergradute level.

JAMMAG's article never had much credibility, since the accusation were blatant and false, supported by nothing more than unreealed 'sources' and press clippings of IIPM's own promotional material... But JAMMAG had also undertaken to prmote this article among other media outlets - when no mainstream publication picked up the story, they finally used internet blogs to try to popularise the story...

The Aaj tak story has JAMMAG employees on camera talking of the deal... and referring to another such deal for a engineering college which wanted to smear the respected IIT Mumbai .

What utter load of crap. Aajtak has carried no such expose. Amity itself has been criticised in JAM in previous issues. But this comment is very Goebbelsian. repeat the lie a number of times and with conviction, and it may just pass off as truth. If somebody from Aajtak or the India Today group is reading this, please note that your name is being falsely used.

Other than these, a number of blogs have been started in support of IIPM on the same day. I am not linking to any of them and giving them undeserved hits and pageranks.

But the most hilarious one, by far, is a blog with has been started using my name! yes, my name!! I too have my own pretend-stalker. The blog claims that the real Gaurav Sabnis is actually an IIPM passout working in Deloitte, and is attending talks being hosted by IIPM in Delhi.

I will end this post here because I need to take a long laugh-break. Controlling my laughter has been the biggest challenge I have faced in recent days.