Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Kerala IPL saga – A technician’s take on the the hoopla

All news channels today are running the Tharoor involvement in Kerala’s IPL story in the ‘breaking news’ mode with everyone giving little substance but more air time over what’s actually nothing. In an attempt to see if Dr Shashi Tharoor or his office would in anyway be connected to the IPL team I discovered some startling facts, all based on information available on the internet. At the outset I’d like to state that this writer couldn’t care less about Sunanda Pushkar and her association with Dr Shashi Tharoor. This writer’s objective is just to present some facts about the new Kerala IPL team related to the real estate they own on the internet and in the process show how Dr Tharoor’s office might be linked to the team much closer than what Dr Tharoor would like everyone to believe.

The way Rendezvous sports won the IPL bid and the fact that there was only one Malayali name was in the owner’s list and he had 1% share in the team was a little hard to believe. It was a little baffling that businessmen with absolutely no connection to the state would like to put up an IPL cricket team spending atrocious amounts of money. The parallels between Dr Tharoor’s political debut and Rendezvous debut in IPL is too obvious. A virtually unknown in Kerala politics, Dr Tharoor was given a ticket to the Lok Sabha seat of Thiruvananthapuram. This despite the fact that he wasn’t from Thiruvananthapuram but from Palakkad in Kerala. He won and subsequently went on to become the Minister of State for External Affairs. The way Rendezvous bid and won the IPL franchisee for Kochi was very similar to Dr Tharoor’s Lok Sabha victory.

Click to open in a larger size to be able to read the text

Every one has a Twitter account these days, it’s such a huge hit in India. So the Kerala IPL team has it’s own Twitter account too. The screenshot below shows their page and their website (the standard.in) which I take it is their official website. I’m not willing to be fooled by the news displayed on “The Kerala Standard” website, it’s a nice way to keep getting in traffic from search engines. While checking who registered the domain for the Kerala IPL team, where it is hosted I hit upon some information which need to be clarified by our Minister for External Affairs. His office is for sure involved in more than just being good friends for a bunch of people who want stand up for the Malayali pride in fielding an IPL team. Here’s the registrant information of this website, the registrant’s name might be familiar to the one’s on Twitter already. Read it along with the registrant information of Dr Tharoor’s official website.

Domain ID:D3883893-AFIN
Domain Name:THESTANDARD.IN
Created On:17-Nov-2009 13:23:02 UTC
Last Updated On:21-Feb-2010 13:14:07 UTC
Expiration Date:17-Nov-2011 13:23:02 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com Inc. (R101-AFIN)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Registrant ID:CR29734645
Registrant Name:Jacob Puthenparambil
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street1:Puthenparambil
Registrant Street2:Pulincunnu PO
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Alleppy
Registrant State/Province:Kerala
Registrant Postal Code:688504
Registrant Country:IN
Registrant Phone:+91.4712703745
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:  jacob@tharoor.in
Name Server:NS1.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:NS2.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:NS3.SLICEHOST.NET

Domain ID:D3443246-AFIN
Domain Name:THAROOR.IN
Created On:26-Mar-2009 07:13:16 UTC
Last Updated On:04-Mar-2010 17:44:22 UTC
Expiration Date:26-Mar-2011 07:13:16 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com Inc. (R101-AFIN)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Registrant ID:CR7566948
Registrant Name:Shashi Tharoor
Registrant Organization:Office of Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP
Registrant Street1:TC 24/2074 3,
Panavila Jn., Thycaud PO
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Thiruvananthapuram
Registrant State/Province:Kerala
Registrant Postal Code:695 014
Registrant Country:IN
Registrant Phone:+91.4712324555
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:+91.4712324666
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:praveen@tharoor.in
Name Server:NS1.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:NS2.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:NS3.SLICEHOST.NET

Looking at the WHOIS information for thestandard.in and tharoor.in one can safely conclude that Dr Tharoor’s office or one of his staff members has registered the website for the Kerala IPL team. The email ID listed is jacob@tharoor.in which is probably the official email address of Dr Shashi Tharoor’s OSD, Shri Jacob Joseph. This information is available on the contact page on Dr Tharoor’s website. Did the Minister’s office register the domain for the Kerala IPL team? If Yes then why unless they have a stake in it? If No then why is the official email ID of the Minister’s OSD listen on the domain’s contact information?

Jacob Joseph
Officer on Special Duty
Telephone: 23014118
Email: jacob@tharoor.in

Source: http://tharoor.in/contact/

Additionally I also have considerable proof to believe that both these websites are hosted out of the same datacenter in the US, I did a trace of the IP address and see them pointing to the same location owned by RACKSPACE. The underlined lines below shows that both websites though they resolve to different IP addresses are hosted out of the same datacenter and the IP space is owned by RACKSPACE, one person manages the hosting space rented here in all probability. Do the Minister’s office or personal staff host the Kerala IPL team’s website? If Yes then why is the minister denying close association with the IPL team? If No then how come the Minister’s official website and the Kerala IPL website are hosted out of the same facility? Coincidence? A might one I’d say !

tharoor.in (174.143.27.168)

13   355 ms   416 ms   294 ms  RACKSPACE-M.edge2.Dallas3.Level3.net [4.59.36.50]

14   287 ms   285 ms   283 ms  vlan907.core7.dfw1.rackspace.net [98.129.84.181]

15   284 ms   286 ms   289 ms  aggr511a-1-core7.dfw1.rackspace.net [98.129.84.149]

16   285 ms   282 ms   291 ms  174-143-27-168.static.cloud-ips.com [174.143.27.168]

thestandard.in (204.232.202.72)

15   268 ms   267 ms   271 ms  main1.above.net [209.133.126.42]

16   268 ms   277 ms   275 ms  vlan907.core7.dfw1.rackspace.net [98.129.84.181]

17   302 ms   289 ms   281 ms  98.129.84.217

18   272 ms   273 ms   294 ms  204-232-202-72.static.cloud-ips.com [204.232.202.72]

Shri Jacob Joseph who also is associated with mobmag.in and tenders4u.com is an active twitter user and Dr Tharoor even once attributed him to the reason for getting onto Twitter. Why should the Minister deny his close association with the Kerala IPL team and attribute it to just mentoring when his personal staff seem to be closely involved in their presence on the internet? Surely the interests aren’t philanthropic.

twitter_23jacob

The URL posted today by Dr Tharoor’s OSD is in bad taste. Why rake up Mr Lalit Modi’s past when that’s already been part of a court dispute in the BCCI election case? When you knew he was indicted why did you even seek his favour for an IPL team? This particular gentleman has always gone on overdrive on Twitter when Dr Tharoor landed into a controversy, should a Union Minister of India’s personal staff start giving out sound bites? Are the personal staff of the Minister exempt from helping hold the integrity and respect of the high office the Minister holds and get into a slander match with a sporting honcho who thinks he can turn any sport into a money spinner?

I’m sure every information on the WHOIS pages of these domain will be changed overnight, but the fact that they were on them till today is a testimony to the the shallow thought that went into owning these online resources. It’s not a crime to own a stake in a cricket team in a format that’s exciting and gets good ad revenues for broadcasters. Someone should take a long hard look and say “let’s stop insulting the intelligence of our audience and come clean out of this.” It’s not a big deal, but would mean a lot to folks such as this writer who have loved Dr Shashi Tharoor’s books and have seen every interview he has given about a dozen times on the internet and looked up to him as a man who made his country proud all through his career.

7 comments:

Aen said...

Hi there just to clarify. I represent COMA and we are the communication design agency engaged by Dr Tharoor's office and we developed Dr Tharoor's website.

We had a great relationship working together on the website and thus we were again engaged for the development of the website for The Chandran Tharoor Foundation which is a charity founded in the name of Dr Tharoor's late father. The Kerala Standard is an online newspaper which is currently in beta and is a project Jacob Joseph, Dr Tharoor's OSD is involved in. We were engaged by JJ personally to develop the website as well. It's still very much work-in-progress. Slicehost is what we host our client websites on, thus the websites are all on Slicehost servers.

There is nothing behind the scenes nor under the table. We are just a design studio engaged by them to create their websites. In fact we are even working for the IPL and Lalit Modi for managing their social media engagement. But this was all before the current controversy so you can say we are in an interesting position. As a service provider to both parties, our stand is neutral and we would continue to render our services professionally and diligently.

So chill and let these people sort it out among themselves.

sherene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sherene said...

I second Aen on this, people are reading too much into very little. This is an online publication which has little to do with Dr. Tharoor except for that one link you mention - Jacob Joseph. I don't believe any constitution decrees it that those working for those in the government are not allowed to take on any personal projects on the side. And no, it is not an SEO strategy, please don't trivialize something that a lot of people are working hard for - a quality citizen media online publication. As we were clear throughout, that was a temp arrangement until a proper Twitter handle was sorted out for the IPL team.

For any further discussion, please contact @sherenejose on this, the @thekerala id is not for personal discussions, thanks. And yes, people, chill! Yes, yes, I will chill too...sorry for getting hysterical in your comment space :)

asurendr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snoop said...

First up - Joshua, George, Renald, Jax and Aaron, good work. We need people like you who think differently and write honestly about what you think impartially.

Aen -- it's ok, lah... if I were you, I would lie low -- your design agency sucks -- actually it sucks donkey balls -- how else would you explain the fact that the minister's site goes down every time he creates a controversy (which is once every few weeks)? I know my shiz, because I work for a site that gets more than a million page views a day and close to 150k uniques. We host our website on EC2. Career path for you -- stick to munching on durians and keeping singapore clean. Can, can??

Shrerene -- how are you? How is it in the UK? is it raining as always? How is Jacob doing? please tell him that he has that constipated look on his face that never seems to go away. Maybe he should loosen up a bit (figuratively of course, not literally -- but I bet by the time this whole fiasco blows over, he will be loose in a lot of places literally too)

Alright, pleasantries out of the way, my problem with this is plain and simple -- Jacob comes across as an unscrupulous jackass -- he's the OSD (officer on special duty and not officer sucking d*ck(s)) of a minister in power, so if he has nothing personal to gain form this whole IPL team, what the fudge was he doing at the IPL auction? Why the fudge did he bring up Lalit Modi's past when we all knew that it was being taken up in a court of law? I do not believe in coincidences -- its pretty obvious that the minister has a lot to cover up.

Sherene, with regards your comment -- you did not mean what you wrote, did you? You just felt compelled to jump in and show your loyalty to Jacob - like a loyal bitch (I mean bitch literally, not figuratively), eh? None of gives a rat's posterior about some random ass 'news' website Jacob or you have -- for me it is trivial, it is trivial for a lot of people i know -- getting involved in scams while holding a public office and being a jackass-- not so trivial -- now dont throw a hissy fit; take it easy, stick to what you do best - writing mushy write ups on how it is in the UK or how India can improve -- or maybe write about having dinner out and having beer at a party or some random shite; but stay the fudge away from politics and tech blogs.

I know what you thinking -- I will take your advice and chill -- people tell me I already am -- now that you have read what I wanted to say, head here -- http://bit.ly/9WNoo6 -- and enlighten us with your thoughts. Take care now.

Raj said...

@Snoop Hahaha :) I liked the original article very much and More than that,Now I had fun reading your comment.

Snoop said...

Folks, Aen & Shereen have been busy -- apparently they have been sucking some mean cocks and have been busy with the 'design' of another website - supporttharoor.org - the whois lookup of this website shows that they have an eye for variety -- they have been sucking some german balls this time; here's what the look up looks like:

Domain ID:D158905153-LROR
Domain Name:SUPPORTTHAROOR.ORG
Created On:17-Apr-2010 17:07:37 UTC
Last Updated On:17-Apr-2010 17:30:16 UTC
Expiration Date:17-Apr-2011 17:07:37 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:ADDPERIOD
Registrant ID:CR45967032
Registrant Name:Sebastian Fuhrmann
Registrant Street1:Leipziger Strase 37
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Golmbach
Registrant State/Province:
Registrant Postal Code:37640
Registrant Country:DE
Registrant Phone:+49.05532328215
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:
Admin ID:CR45967037
Admin Name:Sebastian Fuhrmann
Admin Street1:Leipziger Strase 37
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Golmbach
Admin State/Province:
Admin Postal Code:37640
Admin Country:DE
Admin Phone:+49.05532328215
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:
Tech ID:CR45967035
Tech Name:Sebastian Fuhrmann
Tech Street1:Leipziger Strase 37
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Golmbach
Tech State/Province:
Tech Postal Code:37640
Tech Country:DE
Tech Phone:+49.05532328215
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:
Name Server:NS1.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:NS2.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:NS3.SLICEHOST.NET
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
DNSSEC:Unsigned

Slicehost again -- no surprises of course. Let's all wish Aen and Sherene happy c*ck sucking. Sherene, perfect the art, then come back and suck some mallu c*cks. As always, while you are at it, chill!