NDTV’s journalists have, over the years, claimed to be able to sniff out the truth about national security, government policy, and world affairs, but it turns out that they aren’t quite as adept at sniffing out scams from their own lives.
Former NDTV anchor Nidhi Razdan has revealed that she was scammed into believing she’d got an offer to teach at Harvard by internet pranksters. In June last year, Razdan had happily tweeted that she would be joining as an Associate Professor teaching journalism at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She had also simultaneously left her 21-year-old job at NDTV to be able to join Harvard.
But Razdan has now revealed that the offer to teach at Harvard was a cruel joke by internet pranksters.
“I had been given to believe that I would be joining the University in September 2020,” she wrote in a note on Twitter. “While I was making preparations to take up my new assignment, I was later told that due to the ongoing pandemic, my classes would commence in January 2021. Along with these delays, I began noticing a number of administrative anomalies in the process being described to me. At first, I had dismissed these anomalies as being reflective of the new normal being dictated by the pandemic, but recently the representations being made to me were of an even more disquieting nature. As a result, I reached out to senior authorities at Harvard University for clarity. Upon their request, I shared some of the correspondence that I believed I had received from the University,” she added.
She was in for a rude shock when Harvard replied. “After hearing from the University, I have now learnt that I have been the victim of a sophisticated and coordinated phishing attack. I did not, in fact, receive an offer by Harvard University to join their faculty as an Associate Professor of Journalism. The perpetrators of this attack used clever forgeries and misrepresentations to obtain access to my personal data and communications and may have also gained access to my devices and my email/social media accounts,” he continued.
Razdan says she is contacting the police over the development. “Alarmed at the scale of this attack, I have filed a complaint with the police and provided them with all the relevant documentary evidence. I have requested them to take immediate steps to identify, apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of this abominable attack. Separately I have written to the Harvard University authorities and urged them to take the matter seriously. I hope that the police are able to get to the bottom of this attack on me at the earliest and help me bring this unsavoury incident to a swift end,” she said.
Nidhi Razdan also indicated that she might’ve gotten in touch with NDTV about getting her old job back. “In the past few days, I have written to individuals and organizations with whom I have been in touch with over the past few months to keep them informed of this shocking development,” she wrote.
Now there’s no shortage of job scams in India, in which gullible people are made to pay large sums on the promise of joining companies by middlemen, who disappear after pocketing the money. It’s unclear if Nidhi Razdan’s case involved her paying up to be able to teach at Harvard, but she was nevertheless strung along for nearly 8 months into believing she had received an offer to teach at the university. Now that the bubble has burst — and Harvard’s incoming journalism class has been spared — Razdan will likely be back on Indian TV screens, spewing her nightly propaganda on NDTV. Harvard’s gain, as it happens, is going to turn out to be India’s loss.