The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response from Arnab Goswami and his newly-launched news channel Republic TV on Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s defamation plea against them.
In his plea, Tharoor has claimed damages and compensation of Rs 2 crore from the journalist and his channel for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news relating to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
“Bring down the rhetoric. You can put out your story, you can put out the facts. You cannot call him names. That is uncalled for,” Justice Manmohan said while issuing notice to Goswami and the channel and seeking their replies by 16 August, the next date of hearing.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, said he should be protected, and the channel and the journalist directed to justify the statements made against him.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Goswami and the channel, said they would justify each and every statement made by them and therefore, there was no need for any interim order injuncting them.
The Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram has also sought a direction from the High Court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to the death of his wife till the investigation is completed by the Delhi Police.
He has referred to the broadcasting of news items from 8 to 13 May when the TV channel claimed to air an exposé connected to the death of his wife.
Republic TV’s Response
Meanwhile Republic TV’s official Twitter handle posted a number of tweets emphasising how the Delhi High Court said that the channel "has a right to report the Sunanda murder case".
The channel was also "grateful to the court, lawyers, and our law firm for being a part of our fight for justice in the Sunanda Pushkar case".
Tharoor’s plea against Republic TV had stressed on how the channel’s broadcast would undermine the investigation into Pushkar’s death. The plea, as quoted by Firstpost, said:
It is not out of place to say that defendants (Goswami and TV channel) broadcasted news reports and alleged exposes which were intended to lead the viewers to believe that the deceased was murdered either by the plaintiff (Tharoor) or at the instance of the plaintiff... Such a broadcast clearly has the potential of adversely impacting the ongoing investigation into the death of the deceased.Tharoor’s plea
Goswami’s reaction, on the other hand, lamented Tharoor’s attempt to “block a TV channel from finding out the truth about who killed his wife”.
In fact, he should be more concerned about finding the truth. And it is he who should be asking questions about why the investigations have been so shoddy, rather than block the channels trying to find out the truth.Arnab Goswami
(With inputs from PTI)