The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is in the eye of a storm following its documentary highly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the background of this raging controversy, S Balakrishnan spoke to Mahesh Jethmalani, senior advocate and BJP member of parliament, who is a hardcore Mumbaikar. Suave and articulate, Jethmalani is known to speak with candour which is rare among politicians.
Excerpts from an interview:
You have accused the BBC of receiving funds from the Chinese behemoth Huawei to do anti-Modi propaganda. On what basis are you saying this?
I am yet to find out the exact amount that Huawei has given to BBC. My team is on the job. But, there is no denying that money was transferred. I will disclose the details once I lay my hands on them. The BBC was in financial doldrums and Huawei stepped in at the right moment and exploited BBC's vulnerability. This is typical of how the Chinese function. Through their so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Beijing has lent money to several small nations and locked them in. It is now making them dance to its tune. The same thing is happening with BBC which is doing propaganda against India and PM Modi at the behest of China. A senior British lawmaker Lord Alton observed in the context of China “His bread I eat, his song I sing”. In fact, there is an international conspiracy against PM Modi. Vested interests tried to foment trouble during last year’s Republic Day. And now they are trying to put Mr Modi on the defensive on the eve of the Union budget and elections to nine state assemblies which will be a curtain raiser to the general elections of 2024.
Would you say that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is behind this?
Of course. Huawei is totally controlled by the CCP and it is used by the latter for espionage purposes. Apart from Huawei, 18 other Chinese companies are also involved in influencing the BBC. I will get the details soon. We should not underestimate the Chinese. The need is for utmost vigilance.
If you as an individual have so much insight into Chinese activities, what are our security agencies doing?
That is the question that many people are asking me. It is high time we pulled up our socks. The problem is that both PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have their hands full essentially with elections. They have to tour the nation often as part of the polls campaign. Foreign affairs, to some extent, are being managed by Dr Jai Shankar. The need is for others to chip in. The BBC documentary is not a one-off thing. It is part of a general onslaught on us. High time we woke up.
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