Arindam Chaudhuri, Silchar

When I read The Caravan‘s cover story on Arindam Chaudhuri some months ago, I wondered when he was suing them. And he’s done it! While a court injunction has made The Caravan remove the story from theire wesbite, you can read it thanks to Google cache. No wonder Chaudhuri’s sued Google India as well! Given below is the full text of the press release put out by The Caravan. Unlike when Chaudhuri took on bloggers in 2005, I’m glad it is an organisation with the resources to fight the case and take him head on – not to say that requires some spine as well. After you’re done reading the release below, entertain yourself with all the Arindam jokes on Twitter.  

IIPM’s Rs500-million lawsuit against The Caravan
In response to our February profile of Arindam Chaudhuri, the IIPM has sued The Caravan. Here’s why we’re fighting the suit.

The Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), whose director, Arindam Chaudhuri, was the subject of the cover story of our February 2011 issue, has filed a lawsuit against The Caravan, citing “grave harassment and injury”. The article, titled “Sweet Smell of Success: How Arindam Chaudhuri Made a Fortune Off the Aspirations—and Insecurities—of India’s Middle Classes”, was written by Siddhartha Deb, a contributing editor at The Caravan and an accomplished writer and university professor based in New York. Deb’s profile of Arindam Chaudhuri, which shows how Chaudhuri built an image for himself and how he runs his educational institution, has been critically praised for both its thorough reporting and its spirit of evenhandedness. In the weeks that followed its initial publication, in print and on The Caravan’s website, the extensive article was widely referenced, commented on, and shared by readers.

The suit against The Caravan, which seeks huge damages, has been filed not in Delhi, where both the IIPM and the magazine’s publisher, Delhi Press, are based, but 2,200 km away in Silchar, Assam, 300 km from Guwahati, Assam’s capital. The IIPM filed the case at the Court of Civil Judge in Silchar district, through one Kishorendu Gupta, who operates Gupta Electrical Engineers in a Silchar suburb, and is the first plaintiff. IIPM is the second plaintiff.

In addition to The Caravan and its proprietors, the suit charges Siddhartha Deb, Penguin (the publisher of the upcoming book by Deb in which the article is a chapter), and Google India (which, the suit alleges, has been “publishing, distributing, giving coverage, circulating, blogging the defamatory, libelous and slanderous articles”).

The civil court in Silchar granted the IIPM a preliminary injunction, enjoining Delhi Press to remove the article in question from their website, ex-parte, without any pre-hearing notice.

Kishorendu Gupta is a commissioned agent who works for the IIPM on a contractual basis. Although Gupta is called a counselor, a contract between Gupta and IIPM shows Gupta is a recruitment agent who has commercial interest and is paid for his service on a commission basis. IIPM’s contract with Gupta states:

“for number of students enrolled between 1 to 24, the compensation would be 75,000 per student …[and] for anyone who crosses the 25 students mark, the compensation would be 90,000 per student…[and] for anyone who crosses the 50 student mark, the compensation would be 1,25,000 per student” (From the agreement submitted by the plaintiffs in the court).

It is learnt that the IIPM has filed similar lawsuits against certain other publishers, also in Silchar, Assam, rather than in Delhi.

In 2005, the IIPM filed a case against Rashmi Bansal, a blogger and editor of Just Another Magazine (JAM), who published an article in print and online questioning many of the claims made by the IIPM in its brochures and advertisements, which highlighted that the IIPM had not been accredited by any Indian agency such as AICTE, UGC or under other state acts. The IIPM filed a case against Bansal from Silchar, Assam, even though she runs a small independent outfit based in Mumbai. The IIPM managed to get an ex-parte order from the court, forcing Bansal to remove the article from the website. The IIPM also filed for damages.

In 2009, Careers360 magazine, published by Maheshwar Peri, who is also the publisher of Outlook magazine, carried an article titled “IIPM – Best only in claims?” investigating the authenticity of many of the claims made by the IIPM in their advertisements. The magazine’s investigation revealed that the IIPM claimed that its students were eligible for MBA degrees from IMI, Belgium, but that NVAO, the accreditation organisation of Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium), did not recognise IMI. Also it reported that following a local agitation against the opening of a new campus in Dehradun, the state government of Uttarakhand had asked the Uttarakhand Technical University to conduct an enquiry on the activities of the IIPM, with which IIPM did not co-operate. The investigations revealed that IIPM could not in any circumstances award valid MBA/BBA degrees or conduct such courses in the state of Uttarakhand. The IIPM, again, filed a case against the magazine and the publisher in Silchar, and obtained ex-parte restraint against them. The IIPM also filed a criminal case against Maheshwar Peri from Uttarakhand, which was subsequently quashed by the High Court. The cases against Rashmi Bansal and Careers360 are both still underway at the Silchar courts, as the IIPM seems to be interested in dragging the matter out now that their purpose has been served by obtaining interim restraints.

The Caravan’s profile of Arindam Chaudhuri was the most thorough article published to date on the subject. The 10,000-word story was the result of several months of work by Siddhartha Deb, whose exhaustive reporting included interviews with Arindam Chaudhuri himself and several of his close associates who spoke openly about the IIPM and its critics, coverage of Chaudhuri’s public functions, and an account of considerable time spent on the IIPM campus. The piece is distinguished by both its detailed research and its refined literary style.

The Caravan intends to fight this suit because we believe that we must defend the right of journalists to report on controversial subjects or persons without undue fear of legal intimidation from powerful entities or organisations that seek to insulate themselves from criticism. Delhi Press, the publisher of The Caravan and many popular titles like SaritaWoman’s Era,Grihshobha and Mukta, has time and again been at the forefront of defending the right to freedom of speech and freedom of press during its 70 years of publishing history. On account of the bold anti-authoritarian and anti-religious obscurantist articles published in its leading socio-political magazine in Hindi, Sarita, the group has successfully fought all attempts of legal intimidation over the years.

If the IIPM can demonstrate that any errors of fact have been made, The Caravan will print a correction in the magazine as well as on its website. But the vast majority of the “falsehoods” cited in the legal suit are not based on matters of fact, and the objections merely reflect the discomfort of the IIPM with the language employed to describe the facts.

The Civil Court at Silchar, in its order granting the injunction against the magazine, has noted:

“Defendants had written article making false imputations against IIPM Institute with false and concocted facts only to cause damage to the reputations, Goodwill, education activities of IIPM institute. The said magazine carries and morphid image of Mr. Arindam Choudhury-Dean of the Centre for Economic Research and Advance studies of IIPM saying him as a magician/soothsayer in an attempt to portray him as a trickster and falsely stated that Mr. Arindam Choudhury has a reputation as a fraud, scamster and ‘Jhony come lately’ in order to malign and defame the dean of IIPM and create a negative public image of Mr. Arindam Choudhury”.

In their petition, the plaintiffs have raised an objection to the article’s statement that placements had always been a pressing problem for the IIPM graduates. They have also raised an exception to the author’s claim, based on interviews with Arindam Chaudhuri himself, that almost 90 percent of Planman employees, including faculty members, have been former graduates of the IIPM.

The author had raised questions about the revenue and size of the company to Arindam Chaudhuri and his associates, but these went unanswered. The article states this, along with the fact that while the IIPM spent over 300 million on advertising in 2006, it paid no income tax that year or the previous.

The sum and substance of the petition is that The Caravan has published a false, incorrect, defamatory and libelous article and has made false imputations against the IIPM, which, the petition says, the author and editors of The Caravan knew to be false, and that these were made with the intention to defame the IIPM institute as well as its councilors like Kishorendu Gupta. While we reserve our right to respond to the allegations during the course of legal proceedings, it is interesting to note the following charges in particular:

“The magazine carries a morphed image of Mr. Arindam Chaudhari, Dean Centre for Economic Research and Advance Studies of IIPM, showing him as a magician/soothsayer in a manner which clearly is an attempt to portray him as a trickster.”“The present campus at Satbari is also not in the city’s outskirts nor the road leading to it is dusty. Moreover, the works “proprietor”, “small”, “run of the mill”, “outskirts of Delhi” and “the road is dusty” have been used by the Defendants with the aim to malign and defame the heads of IIPM as well as the IIPM institute.”

As stated before, The Caravan as a respectable publication stands by what has been published, which is a true and accurate account of the IIPM as experienced by the author. But the suit that has been filed leads us to believe that the IIPM does not appear to have any desire to correct the record: instead it aims to prevent any publication of material that paints the IIPM in a light it does not approve of.

The suit, in order to substantiate the charges, offers a long list of students, rent receipts from the Indian Tuberculosis Society, an agreement with Plaintiff No 1 Kishorendu Gupta, which runs into 25 clauses of commercial nature, and various newspaper cuttings.

Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right in this country, and various higher courts have consistently upheld this important fundamental right of individuals and publications.

The Caravan will continue to keep its readers updated with the proceedings in the court so that they know the truth about both the veracity of the statements made in the article and the arguments of the IIPM and Kishorendu Gupta. For the benefit of the public, news of the court proceedings will be published by Delhi Press in its 30 magazines in nine languages, which together have a readership of over 30 million people.

The Caravan Editors and Publishers

30 thoughts on “Arindam Chaudhuri, Silchar”

  1. Courts in the Northeast are used for such purposes. 1. Jessica Lal murder accused got bail from the remote Imphal circuit Bench of the Guwahati HC. 2. Justice Dinakaran was sent to Sikkim HC to wash off the stink. 3. And now this fellow. People are easily bought in states where money is tight, especially in all NE states, where the authorities fall on the feet of anybody wishing to throw in some crumbs.

    I have been reading Deb for many years. We have got to pay our dues. Protect him. Don’t let them get him or the magazine.


    1. “People are easily bought in states where money is tight, especially in all NE states, where the authorities fall on the feet of anybody wishing to throw in some crumbs.”

      What do you mean when you make such statements? I dont know who you are, but i understand the followings –
      – You are audacious in a big way to challenge the court system.
      – You have no idea of how the judiciary actually works.
      – You are so much bothered about seeing that your favorite writer that you are crossing your limits and calling Judicial authorities in the Northeastern region corrupt.

      For your information Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal contempt has been defined as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:
      (i) Scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
      (ii) Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or
      (iii) Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
      So far as i think you are clearly committing a Criminal contempt, which is a punishable offence…..So you better save your identity from disclosure – that’s the only escape route for you.
      But this website, which still holds your comment may be facing trouble.

      I don’t know whatever grudges you hold against IIPM or Mr. Chaudhuri, neither am i interested, but you simply cannot defame the court system


      1. That may be true in legalese, but Nag, please remember that stifling someone’s freedom of expression and opinion will be bad for all of us in the long run. If the article was really defamatory, why not publish a correction, stating the facts, IIPM runs enough ads. And i really doubt that the Honourable Court will bother about comments on some blog. I’m confident that the Court representatives are too dignified and busy for that. BTW, are you/were you an IIPM student/employee?


      2. Mr. Nag,

        You seem to be an expert in law. Could you also educate the readers whether Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, former Judge of the Supreme Court, after he mentioned the following in an article published in “The Hindu”, would also be booked for a punishable offence of defaming the judiciary?

        “Lord Acton, the great British jurist, rightly said: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The Prime Minister is the custodian of the considerable state power. He has to be under public scrutiny.

        In this view, the judges are sublime and must have control over the Executive and the parliamentary process. Both these instruments are under the Lokpal’s proposed jurisdiction. There is no case of exemption of these authorities.

        I am sorry that some high Chief Justices have expressed a different view. I disagree.

        *********The greatest menace before India today is that the judiciary itself is corrupt and no action is being taken.*************

        There must be a militant, active nationwide movement against corruption. A powerful instrument must be set up for this if the confidence of the people is to be preserved.

        The judiciary and the Prime Minister shall be under the Lokpal. The Lokpal itself must be of the highest order and should be plural in number.

        The Prime Minister and the judiciary shall be like Caesar’s wife: above suspicion.” (The Hindu: 1st July 2011:

        Though laws are above everything and everyone, one should not let one’s “REASON” to be subsumed under them. Generally asked, can’t one with or without any knowledge of how the judiciary works, question the very nature of a particular law in a particular situation and ask the question, whom a particular law is acting favourable to? Can’t a Common Man without any knowledge of the impenetrable labyrinth of laws sense any injustice happening in the society?


  2. I wholeheartedly support CARAVAN and the publishers in this fight. Arindam Choudhury should be
    exposed and brought to books. Incidentally, there are tens of Arindam Choudhurys in India now, all come
    alive with highsounding promises via expensive publicity campaigns to entice middle class youngsters
    who dream of foreign campuses and qualifications. In fact, this has become a lucrative racket operating
    from India, Pakistan, China and other Asian countries. Since MBA is a la mode, these intitutes find so called comparable establishments in certain parts of Europe. The European educational authorities let these establishments function to avoid the mounting pressure of unemployment and recession. They are
    institutions not recognised by the state nor any university. Hundreds of Indian students arrive in this way
    in Belgium, Netherlands and even in France. They arrive practically from all regions of India; they are
    promised scholarships, grants, even lucrative jobs – all fake. These young stake a good amount of
    money ( often Bank loans for higher studies) to get admission and entry into these countries. Once here,
    they slog; good many of them work as servers and dishwashers in restaurants poorly paid and go thru a
    tough time. These schools conduct their courses in English in collusion with some greedy academics who are profs in the recognised establishments. Our youngsters, most of them, do not know the language . The situation is deplorable, pathetic and often dramatic! Those who fatten on their money are inindividuals like Choudhury and the ruthless, shameless and conscienceless gobetweens, that is, the the chain of agents like Gupta.
    Inasu Thalak, poet and freelance writer living in Paris


  3. We are entirely with you in your fight against attempts to gag sane voices exposing corrupt practices. Also the judiciary which allows itself to be misused by corrupt and criminal elements needs to be thoroughly investigated.


  4. chaudhry does infact bank on the insecurities and ignorance of millions in india. however, its not just the ignorant or unawares, that are subject to scrutiny here; even well to do middle class and educated people fall for the MBA trap. i attribute this to the lopsided devopment of this country, where standards are yardstick-marked by western parameters and standards. national and local contexts are completely forgotten in many cases, almost all urban cases, and if we must produce men and women of substance who shall to the sustenance and indeed empowerment of this country we must needs realise our double standards in function around us, in our PSU, Corporate, Private and Political spheres too. Arindam Chaudhary, in such light, then, seems a feeble contender to me, who has only worked to his ends by using his acumen, no matter how degenerate it may be. But, to get to the root of the evil, we must analyse deeper and more latent concerns and hate the crime, not the criminal.


  5. This is a watershed moment for the Nation… This fight is going to define how long this commercialisation of education, bereft of all ethical standards is going to survive in our nation. Its not just about journalistiic free speech.. Its about the Truth.. that opportunists like Arindham and countless others like him prosper on our (false)’ sense of insecurity.. We incourage them…We believe them.. We give in to the temptation of quick bucks n glamour.. forgetting the fact that Knowledge can’t be bought..We need to


  6. Punish such people severely. It is clearly cheating innocent people. There are other ‘institutions’ too doing such low grade acts. Punish all of them. Let the truth and hence faith in this country be upheld.


  7. All the comments here seem to be of the typical knee-jerk -‘Arindam Chaudhari is a scamster’ variety. The original article itself is definitely more kinder and even handed (as Caravan points out). Deb insightful article and is detailed reporting is praiseworthy because it does not chase the sensationalist or conspiratorial stories of like how Arindam Chaudhari is funded by a cartel of politicians, has accounts in the Swiss bank or is the abominable snowman in disguise. He cuts behind the facade and tracks the real Arindam Chaudhari who surprisingly turns out to be a regular person but a very smart entrepreneur. His marketing techniques are questionable and so are blatant claims but he’s not as sinister as the mainstream bloggers make him out to be.

    Having said that, the defamation suit and the whole history of IIPM gagging journos and bloggers via injunctions is hokey and must be fought against.


  8. Carvan is not a lonely journey. It has many pilgrims to walk along side!

    Soon the adverts in the paper shall start flashing “Dare to think beyond investigative journalism”. This would be the death of the Journalist in the so-called biggest democracy of the world.

    Lets get him!


  9. Dear Shivam.

    Thank you very much for posting Caravan magazine’s statement in response to the suit filed against Caravan, Delhi Press, Penguin Books and Google in the Silchar District Court, ostensibly against the excellent essay by Siddhartha Deb on Arindam Chaudhari and his ‘educational’ enterprise.

    I have read the essay carefully when it appeared in print, and found it an excellent example of what a good, investigative portrait can be. Siddhartha Deb has a nuanced, sharp sense of what he is talking about, and I found his writing to be sympathetic to the kind of people who can and do get taken in by the claims made by institutions such as IIPM

    I did not find anything in the essay that can be considered defamatory or libellious. If there is a dispute with any facts that Siddhartha Deb has cited, then that dispute needs to be settled with counter-factuals, not with legal bluster.

    If Mr. Chaudhari and his associates have a problem with Siddharta Deb’s view of their enterprise, the right and proper forum for airing such a grievance would be their own publications – for example – ‘The Sunday Indian’ (in it’s myriad language versions). Then, the discriminating reader could choose who and what he or she wants to be persuaded by – Siddhartha Deb’s view or the self-portraits of Arindam Chaudhari (and his associates).

    It is not a crime to have an opinion about a person, or an institution. it is not a crime to make that opinion known in a public forum. Arindam Chaudhari and his associates, in targeting Siddhartha Deb, Caravan Magazine, Penguin and Google are inventing a crime when one has not been committed.

    If, indeed, Caravan and its author are prepared to stand by what Siddhartha Deb’s research shows, and if indeed what he says is proven, then it will be those who have brought the complaint in the first place who should be held liable for trying to ruin a person’s reputation and for trying to muzzle the freedom of expression.

    Every thinking person who reads magazines and blogs in India needs to stand by Siddhartha Deb and Caravan Magazine. Now that a judicial process is underway, let us hope that the outcome of this case can become a precedent for showing arrogance its necessary comeuppance, every time.




    1. Dear Shuddha,

      I second your position that it is actually the “Dare to think beyond” party, which should be held liable for abusing the freedom of expression of the author of the essay. I was rather wondering, that if at all Carvan and associates become successful in proving the facts mentioned in the essay, then ironically, the so called victims of defamation will be themselves responsible for their own defamation, for earlier it was only about an essay, but later it would be a court judgement! That would be like a permanent stamp on their seats.

      Let’s look forward to that day.


  10. Shuddhabrata, you miss the key point of these suits. These are so-called SLAPP cases (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) which are ment to create a “chilling effect” so that other critics will think twice before speaking out. There is no need to have actual libel but just alleging libel is sufficient. The burden of proof goes to the defendant and in the interim period, everything is “sub-judice” which means silence. This cold silence is what the plaintiff wants, during that time their advertising can proceed unfettered.


    1. Dear Walker,

      Thanks for the correction. I think I understand what you mean. Do you (or anyone else) know of how this can be confronted ? Can one file, for instance, counter-suits, on the grounds of such a suit being frivolous ? Or is there no provision in law in india for bringing charges against a non-serious suit, purely based on what your rightly point out is ‘alleged libel’. Is there a way by which what you call the ‘cold silence’ and the ‘chilling effect’ can be broken? So that the real intent (of ensuring silence) may be subverted ?




      1. Hi Shuddha, let me chime in with my 2 pesas. Some states have (California has) an anti-SLAPP law. AFAIK India’s states do not have these laws yet but there will come a time. If lobby groups in India are becoming aware of sophisticated SLAPPs I hope they would push for legislation. There are web portas which keep track of all these various legal threats. An example is a cease and desist notice from an Indian school in Singapore with trademark claim presented in objecttion to a referentially naming which used the above said’s trademarked words. This C&D is at for your reference.

        Educating middle class Indians about SLAPP, how freedoms are lost and can be defended, would be the best way to make the transition without regime change.


  11. Dear Shivam,

    Would you happen to have the text of this article? Google cache no longer carries it. Would you be able to tell me where I can get it?

    Mishty Varma


  12. Sir my brother amit shah who was the employ of your institute in dehradun is missing since 27th of july 2011 he did not return home from the institute , we suspect the employ of the institute have kidnapped him could u plzzzz…………… help us to find him as u r a last hope who could help us in this case
    ————–Thanking u,
    Rajni Arya!!!!!!!!!!! :’-( :’-( :’-( :’-(


  13. Being active in the HE space and having worked for 5 years with a large Institution in the private sector, I am sure Mr Debs coverage is authentic.
    The sad fact is for every Arindom who leaves the scene with their millions there will many others . We have to live with this situation when the Central and State Governments have no funds to upgrade the Higher Education sector, and the gross enrolment ratio is a pathetic 11% against 25% in China , which was way behind ius just 15 years ago!

    S Chari


  14. @aks – The statements by Justice Iyer are opinions per se – general opinions – which anyone can write upon anything. Like this statement – “politicians/judges are a corrupt lot” does not scandalise the whole judiciary/polity or for that matter any particular judge or politician. What @Natasha wants to indicate is that Judicial system in the northeastern region of the country is corrupt and is in shambles. This statement simply is libelous as it point fingers upon bonafide Judicial officers belonging to a particular part of the country. Protesting against corrupt practices is good so long as no one is unjustly victimized for the same.


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