Two articles on The Wire,  which criticised MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a director of Arnab Goswami’s Republic, are now at the centre of a storm. (Photo: The Quint)
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What the Nation Wants to Know but Arnab’s Republic Won’t Tell You

Having succeeded in securing a temporary injunction against two articles on The Wire, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday accused the online publication of operating in a nexus with the Congress.

Reacting to a chain of events involving two separate pieces on The Wire that sought to link his political, business and media interests, Chandrasekhar said,  “I am prepared to fight, defend myself against this nexus of elements of the Congress and some in the media – and expose their intellectual dishonesty with legal means.”

The Wire to Challenge Injunction on Articles

The Wire had in two separate articles, published in January and February, alleged that the independent MP had a conflict of interest. The reports pointed out that Chandrasekhar, who is a member on the parliamentary standing committee on defence, owns a stake in Axiscades Engineering Technology Limited which provides technology solutions to the aerospace and defence sectors, among others.

The articles also suggested that Chandrasekhar was looking to push his "right-wing" agenda through his recent media investment amounting to over Rs 30 crore in Arnab Goswami’s Republic.

The Bengaluru City Civil Court has imposed an injunction on the two articles, following which they have been taken down by The Wire. The Foundation for Independent Journalism, the not-for-profit company that publishes The Wire, will be challenging the injunction in court.

In response to The Quint’s questions via e-mail, Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor of The Wire, said “Mr Chandrasekhar filed a civil suit alleging defamation and moved an interlocutory application seeking an ex-parte injunction restraining us from providing access to the two articles.”

Varadarajan also hit out at the MP’s allegations of The Wire being part of a conspiracy against him, saying:

Chandrasekhar’s comment about a ‘nexus’ with the Congress is laughable. I am tempted to call it ‘defamatory’ but I think ‘delusional’ may be a more accurate description.

The first article, titled ‘Arnab’s Republic, Modi’s Ideology’ was written by Sandeep Bhushan and published on 25 January 2017.

The second article, titled ‘In Whose Interests Do Our Soldiers March?’ was written by Sachin Rao and published on 17 February 2017.

Speaking exclusively to The Quint, Rajeev Chandrasekhar claimed the articles criticising him were politically motivated.

This is not the first time that I have been targeted by elements in the Congress working with some in the media – It happened in 2009 during the 2G scam and many times since including Steel Flyover when I took on the vested interests in Karnataka. I was always prepared for this kind of attack from and coming as this did from those close to the top leadership of Congress.
Chandrasekhar to The Quint

The following image is a part of the notices sent by Chandrasekhar’s lawyer to The Wire, its editors, authors of the two articles and the Foundation for Independent Journalism.

The Man in the Eye of the Storm

MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, one of the largest investors in Arnab Goswami’s to-be-launched Republic TV, is currently in the midst of a legal battle with The Wire (Photo: The Quint)
MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, one of the largest investors in Arnab Goswami’s to-be-launched Republic TV, is currently in the midst of a legal battle with The Wire (Photo: The Quint)

Chandrasekhar, 52, was elected to the Rajya Sabha as an independent MP in 2006. In 2012, he secured a second term with support from the BJP and JD(S). In 2014, he supported and provided financial support to the Aam Aadmi Party but declined an offer to contest elections. His website now says that he is firmly with the NDA. He's also the Vice-Chairman of the BJP-led NDA in Kerala.

Chandrasekhar has been at the forefront of the One Rank One Pension protests and runs a non-profit organisation ‘Flags of Honour’ dedicated to the armed forces. He pushed the Modi government to take up Capt Saurabh Kalia’s case with the International Court of Justice in the Hague. In November 2016, he introduced a Bill in Parliament that sought to declare Pakistan a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and called for snapping all economic and trade relations with Islamabad.

Chandrasekhar has invested over Rs 30 crore in Arnab Goswami-headed ARG Outlier (Photo: The Quint)
Chandrasekhar has invested over Rs 30 crore in Arnab Goswami-headed ARG Outlier (Photo: The Quint)

Apart from being a Director and one of the biggest investors in Arnab Goswami’s “independent” media company ARG Outlier, Chandrasekhar is Chairman of Bengaluru-based investment company Jupiter Entertainment Ventures Private Limited, which owns the Malayalam news channel Asianet News, Kannada news channel Suvarna News, web portal Newsable and newspaper Kannada Prabha.

Chandrasekhar insists his legal action against The Wire is not about a takedown.

It is about holding those who did this, accountable for their actions.