Following accounts of how news that did not paint members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a favourable light has been pulled off of news websites with seeming regularity since the party came to power. It appears that there is more than just coincidence that news reports linking party president Amit Shah to potentially disproportionate assets, have continued to surface since demonetization was announced and imposed, some of which claimed that district cooperative bank in the capital city of Gujarat state, the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) close to 750-crore rupees worth of the demonetized currency denominations of 500- and 1,000 rupees, five days after demonetization was announced and put into effect, even though district cooperative banks were banned from accepting them due to fears of money laundering.
The news outlets in question are News18.com, Firstpost, Times Now, and the New Indian Express. While no official word has been provided about these news media centres and their actions in this regard, online papers like The Wire continue to maintain pressure on the ongoing removal of such items of news which often seem to vanish into thin air, not very long after they are reported. Of particular interest in the case of the ADCB accepting deposits of demonetized notes is the fact that Amit Shah used to be a director of the Bank, and more importantly, had served as its chairman in 2000.
When queried by The Wire, those that did provide responses to the questionnaire sent out by the online paper claim that it was “editorial prerogative” that allowed them to take down these articles. On a more interesting note, the Times of India and the Economic Times even pulled down articles in May that they had published about India sliding down World Press Freedom ranking, from 133 to 136, dropping below even Afghanistan at 120.