The chief of the Indian Army staff, General Bipin Rawat, conferred the Rajasthan Patrika’s K.C. Kulish International Award for Excellence in Journalism to Gulf News journalist Mazhar Farooqui at a glittering ceremony at New Delhi’s Taj Hotel on Monday evening. Farooqui received the award for his investigative story ‘We are a bogus firm yet we got an ISO certificate’ published in XPRESS on February 16, 2017. Image Credit: Rajasthan Patrika

Dubai: The Chief of the Indian Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, conferred the Rajasthan Patrika’s K.C. Kulish International Award for Excellence in Journalism to Gulf News journalist Mazhar Farooqui at a glittering ceremony in New Delhi on Monday evening.

Farooqui received the award for his investigative story "We are a bogus firm yet we got an ISO certificate" published in XPRESS, a newsweekly publication of Gulf News, on February 16, 2017.

No sweat: XPRESS Editor Mazhar Farooqui (left) and Staff Reporter Abhishek Sengupta with the ISO 9001:2015 certificate and 13-page audit report for the non-existent electrical firm VDH . Gulf News

The story exposed how the much-sought after ISO 9001:2015 certificate can be bought in the UAE by anyone who is able to pay for it.

Two XPRESS journalists, including Farooqui, had posed as directors of a non-existent firm VDH and approached the Dubai-based accredited agency authorised to issue ISO certificates.

ISO racket: No audit

All the journalists had to do was provide them a copy of VDH’s trade licence, an email address, phone number and Dh4,000 in cash.

Less than 36 hours later, they had the certificate in their hands.

The agency even gave the journalists an audit-report detailing how their officers assessed VDH’s operations at their ‘facility’ and found it to be compliant with ISO standards.

Following the expose, Dubai Municipality’s Dubai Accreditation Centre withdrew the accreditation of the company which issued the certificate.

This is the second time the award was conferred on XPRESS.

In 2014, Farooqui got the award for a story "I am an idiot, yet I am hired" which blew the lid off a recruitment racket in the UAE.