The Board of Directors of Kasturi & Sons Ltd that owns The Hindu Group of publications has announced on Monday that Mr N. Ram would be its new Chairman and Mr N. Murali the Co-Chairman. Mr N. Ravi has taken over as Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, while Ms Malini Parthasarathy has become its Editor. In consequence, Mr Siddharth Varadarajan has submitted his resignation.
Siddharth Varadharajan earlier took over the editorship when Ram announced his ‘retirement’ in 2012. Varadharajan now resigned following the board re-designating him as Contributing Editor and Senior Columnist of The Hindu.
Ram as Chairman used his casting vote in bringing in the changes when the board of the company was divided 6–6.
Mr Arun Ananth is also no longer the Chief Executive Officer of Kasturi & Sons Ltd.
Varadarajan was the first editor of the newspaper in nearly five decades who didn’t belong to the Kasturi family, and Ananth was the company’s first chief executive, news reports said.
“With The Hindu’s owners deciding to revert to being a family run and edited newspaper, I am resigning from The Hindu with immediate effect,” Varadarajan said on Monday.
Ram and Ravi had a long family feud over the control of The Hindu.
In April 2011 Ravi accused that “In a shocking display of bad faith,” N. Ram, who has become the Editor in Chief of The Hindu in 2003, “by stealth,” postpones his retirement agreed upon the previous year, and “seems bent on taking all the editorial directors—most are in their 50s–into retirement with him with a scorched earth policy to ensure that no one in the family succeeds him.”
“[…]Contrary to the practice in any mainline newspaper, the Editor-in-Chief [Ram] indulging in an unceasing self-glorification campaign, publishing his own ribbon cutting pictures and reports of his activities and speeches with a regularity […] would put corporate house journals to shame,” Ravi then said besides blaming the ‘pro-left’ and pro-China bias of The Hindu of Ram.
Ram was also accused of standing in the way of Malini Parthasarathy.
Varatharajan was then considered as Ram’s protégé in taking over the editorship.
Political observers in India speculate certain political currents operating behind the present changes in The Hindu.
They cite at the comment of the new Editor-in-Chief, Ravi, on the tendency in The Hindu before his takeover that the “news desk was given standing instructions not to take any stories on Narendra Modi on page one.
Meanwhile, there are also speculations that the editorial changes were made to save The Hindu from a case filed by BJP’s Subramaniam Swamy on the ineligibility of Varatharajan editing The Hindu, because of his US citizenship.