4 July-2014, Vidhi Choudhary/Livemint: Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, IBN 18 Network and Sagarika Ghose, deputy editor at CNN-IBN have quit the Network18 group in quick succession. While Ghose posted “Goodbye CNN-IBN. God Bless!” on microblogging site Twitter, Sardesai confirmed his resignation in a text message: “Proud of what we achieved. We started channels from scratch and built them by putting journalism first.”
In his farewell letter to staff Sardesai wrote, “I must confess it’s not easy to leave a baby that one has helped create/build/grow and to leave such great colleagues. But I guess certain things in life are written in the stars. Editorial independence and integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe I am too old now to change!”
A copy of the letter has been reviewed by Mint.
Sardesai worked at Network18 for nine years and headed news channels CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN-Lokmat.
The entire top management at Network18 quit the company between 28 and 29 May, including Raghav Bahl, the founder of the company and B. Saikumar, chief executive officer, Network18.
According to people familiar with the development, Sardesai and Ghose formally put in their papers on 3 July.
In May, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) announced that it would pay Rs.4,000 crore to take complete control of Network18, the company founded by Bahl in 1993, in the biggest takeover in India’s media industry. This was followed by an open offer to the public shareholders of the company. RIL now has ownership of television channels CNBC-TV18, CNN-IBN, IBN7; websites Moneycontrol.com, ibnlive.com, firstpost.com; print magazines Forbes India, Overdrive among various other media and non-media businesses.
In early 2012, RIL had bought debentures in Network18’s promoter group companies, convertible into shares at any time within 10 years, infusing much needed cash into the company.