Dear Friends

Welcome to Operation 136.

This is not an exercise in self-aggrandizement. It is rather a humble effort to reach out to you as a professional journalist and to put to rest all tongues which will undoubtedly wag after Operation 136 is released today.

Well, although I am a technocrat by education and training, yet I can say I am a journalist by choice.

I am an alumnus of N.S. Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, IIM Bangalore, and a senior incubate member of the institution. As a technocrat, I am associated with some of the top ten gaming MNCs and have developed personalized Flight Simulation Nullifier for aviation industry and an Anti-Drowsy Alert Gadget for automobile industry.

Investigative journalism has always been a passion with me, and in the pursuit of this passion I have had the occasion of working with Tehelka and Headlines Today. In the course of my career as a journalist, I have received both encomiums and brickbats in equal measure.

Award I have received.

I have been a recipient of the International Press Institute Award (Vienna) for ‘Excellence in Journalism’ in year 2011 for my story “Rent a Riot” which I had done a year before. Published by Tehelka, the story exposed Pramod Muthalik, the leader of right-wing outfit Sri Ram Sene, ready to vandalize an art exhibition for money.

Other landmarks in my career as an investigative journalist:

2018 – PMO exposed – Prime minister office involved in illegal data sharing

RTI Expose vs Ayush Ministry, March 15 , 2016 (Outlook: “When Pushp Comes To RTI Shove”, 28 March 2016: This story documented how the Union Ministry of Ayush has adopted an unconstitutional No-Hiring-of-Muslims policy, embarrassing the Modi government across the world.

Feb 2019 Report – Delhi police forged evidence to create a ground to arrest me and close down the publication.

Operation Vakalatnama, published by Cobrapost, September 2, 2013. The story exposed senior BJP leaders conspiring to help Amit Shah evade the noose in the Tulsi Ram Prajapati fake encounter case by getting Narmada Bai, Tulsi Ram’s mother, sign on blank vakalatnamas.

Outlook: 15 October 2012: If the Pose Holds: An Outlook-IBN investigation showing policemen and others spilling the beans on the shoddy investigation into the disappearance of Swami Shankardev, Baba Ramdev’s guru ( ). Government orders a CBI inquest into the affair (CBI case No. RC 2(S)/2013).

Tehelka, 2010: Rent a Riot: Cash for Chaos ( ). Published by Tehelka, this story exposed Pramod Muthalik ready to vandalize an art exhibition for money.

Shooting the messenger:

As it often happens, when your stories hurt certain interests, or powerful individuals, it is you who are either hounded or witch-hunted both by the establishment and by the media at large. I am no exception to this phenomenon. For instance, the Ayush Ministry went hammer and tongs after me when the RTI story was published by filing a false case against me. The IO alleged in the court that the laptop used to create forged documents for the story by the accused, that is me, was confiscated from me. However, this claim fell flat when an FSL report stated that “no such document” was retrieved from the laptop. The case is still pending.

Similarly, Yoga Guru went berserk when my story on the alleged botching up of the investigation by the police into the disappearance of his guru was published. He launched a well orchestrated vilification campaign against me by holding press conferences. He had to relent when the CBI probe was ordered.

Pramod Muthalik and his followers too went after me by filing cases 27 districts across Karnataka after Rent a Riot was published. However, the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka has quashed the cases.

Again a false case was filed against me after yet another investigation that I had done on the SHO of Najafgarh Police Station alleging that I had extorted Rs. 10,000 from a constable. However, the sole witness that was produced before the court turned out to be a police informer. The case is still pending for the past 9 years.

Anyway these are hazards of the profession that I made my first choice.

Information may want to be free, but sometimes it needs a little help. Governments and corporations with dirty laundry should be afraid, very afraid.

Pushp Sharma

Indian Investigative Journalist


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