The Delhi-based tech portal ScoopWhoop caught itself in a controversy for running a smearing campaign against opposition leaders in exchange for money.
In a sting operation by Cobrapost, the Kalaari Capital-backed startup’s co-founder Sattvik Mishra said that his company is ready to publish such content.
The sting operation carried out by a senior journalist Pushp Sharma also revealed that during the first meeting with the startup’s digital strategist Vidushi Daura and Akash, they denied running any political campaign for money.
However, in the second meeting, which was with Mishra, he unfolded many mysteries behind the company’s agenda. He caught saying that his company has a massive user base of over 300-400 million and it’s an easy task for him to do such campaigns.
In a shocking revelation, he agreed to run evocative jingles using languages like Pappu, Bua, and Babua for Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati that would project the leaders in an undignified manner.
“There’s a smart way of doing it and there’s a foolish way of doing it. We completely understand your requirement,” said Mishra on camera.
In its investigation, Cobrapost further claimed that undercover journalist Sharma offered to pay them anything between Rs 6 crore and Rs 50 crore if they agreed to provide a platform for his media campaign.
This is the second time when the company was caught in the controversy.
In April last year, a former employee of ScoopWhoop filed an FIR alleging that she was subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace by the company’s co-founder Suparn Pandey.
Apart from Kalaari, ScoopWhoop counts Bharti SoftBank (BSB), a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Softbank Corp as its major investor. It also sold 36.5 per cent stake in November 2014 to Bharti SoftBank.
Some of the major media outlets named in the sting operation include DNA, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, India TV and ScoopWhoop. Aniruddha Bahal, the Editor-in-Chief of Cobrapost, said this was the first part of a two-part series. The second part of the investigation will be released soon.
The development was first reported by IndianWeb2 via Cobrapost.
Update: Entrackr has received an email in response from ScoopWhoop team. The same can be read here.