New Delhi. A national television news channel of India was duped by a conman, who promised to provide ‘sizzling and hot’ video of Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif to them. The channel had paid the conman ninety seven lakh rupees for the promised video before the trickster did the vanishing act. The incident was unearthed by our investigative journalism team after the channel lodged a police complaint against the unidentified conman.
“The FIR by the news channel mentioned a case of forgery, fraud and breach of contract, but there was no mention of the incident that led to fraud. We suspected something fishy and decided to dig up the whole issue. We caught hold of a former employee of the channel who was recently laid off for failing to break the story of Aishwarya Rai getting swine flu, even though the news was unconfirmed. He was mighty pissed off with his earlier employer and gave us some vital leads.” Khoja Karim, Faking News investigative journalism team head, proudly proclaimed.
In course of our investigation, we found out that the news channel was first approached by the conman who promised them a sting operation video showing corruption in NREGA, but the man was turned away as none of the editorial bosses seemed interested in it. A week later, the conman returned, and this time he claimed to possess a video capturing Katrina and Salman in intimate moments as well as the Bollywood duo fighting over Vivek Oberai. He was immediately called for a meeting with the bosses.
“The man had made a fake video using some video editing software that morphed faces of Salman and Katrina on a soft porn video. He showed a few small clips to the bosses of the news channel, who immediately got excited (no pun intended). The man claimed that he had a full video with finer resolution, but asked for a hefty price. After several rounds of negotiations, the channel agreed to pay him ninety seven lakh rupees, all upfront.” Khoja Karim revealed the whole story.
After receiving the money, the conman never came back and the television channel realized that they were duped. The channel was forced to lodge a police complaint after the advertisers, who had booked advertisement slots at exorbitant rates for the time when the promised video was supposed to be telecasted, were agitated and threatened the channel with legal actions. Advertisers were not ready to take news channel’s explanation of scrapping the Salman-Katrina program at face value and suspected a manufactured cause.
Meanwhile the same conman seems to have approached Faking News as well because we received an e-mail informing us that we had been selected in the ongoing Microsoft award held this September 2009 (?) and were eligible to be paid one million GBP (pound sterling) in cash! Our verification number was mentioned as KPC/9030108308/03 and we were asked to contact Mr. Tommy Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org