Vir Sanghvi’s designation changed, he says no link to controversy

In an apparent fallout of the Niira Radia tapes controversy, Vir Sanghvi, who was Advisory Editorial Director of HT Media Ltd, has been divested of his editorial designation and re-designated as Advisor, HT Media.

HT Media is the publisher of the Hindustan Times newspaper.

Sanghvi, who wrote a weekly column Counterpoint, had announced last week that the column would "take a break."

When asked about the change in designation, Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media, sent an email reply to The Indian Express that said: "Vir Sanghvi title (Advisor)."

Later tonight, Verma sent a text message to The Indian Express saying that the two issues (re-designation and the Radia tapes) are not connected.

On the tapes, Radia is seeking Sanghvi's help in reaching out to the Congress leadership and Sanghvi assures her of help. Sanghvi also seems to be discussing the content of his yet-to-be-written HT column. Sanghvi has claimed that he was merely "stringing a source" along and this was part of the journalistic process.

A senior executive in the company said that the re-designation was meant to send the message that Sanghvi would have no influence on the group's editorial policies and would serve as an advisor to the management alone. HT Media is a listed company.

"There has been no discussion on this issue among the company's board members as yet," said a senior board member.

When contacted, Sanghvi claimed that the decision (to re-designate) had no link to the current controversy. "Four-five months ago, a decision was taken that the title of director should only be given to people who are members of the HT Media board. Since I am not a member of the board, it has been decided to change my designation to Advisor."

Incidentally, as late as November 19 — after the Radia tape transcripts were published — HT issued a note on its website that identified Sanghvi as Advisory Editorial Director.

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