“Robert Is Scared”: Arnab Goswami on Vadra’s Legal Notice
A legal notice was served by Robert Vadra to Goswami over Republic TV’s coverage on his firm’s “undisclosed income”.
Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, has served a legal notice to Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami over "defamatory statements" made against him as well as Sky Light Hospitality LLP in a Republic TV broadcast on 25 June. Reacting to the notice, Goswami said, "Robert is scared. He looks like he is frightened about facts coming out in the public domain."
WHAT WAS REPUBLIC TV'S REPLY?
The legal notice, which raised objections over how Republic TV had hinted at tax evasion by Vadra in its coverage, evoked a strong response from Goswami.
In a statement posted on social media on Thursday, 19 July, Goswami defended the channel's reportage and dared him to participate in his debate, "instead of wasting his large amounts of money on lawyers".
Robert is scared. He looks like he is frightened about facts coming out in the public domain... The income tax order is with us and reporting it is our right. If he wants to take on Republic and try and stop us from reporting on him he is welcome to try his luck. I think he is worried that our reports will thwart his political ambitions.Arnab Goswami’s response
WHAT DID THE LEGAL NOTICE SAY?
Calling the accusations made by Republic TV an expression of their "malafide intent" with the motive to malign his image before the public, Vadra had warned of initiating appropriate proceedings against the channel as well as the Income Tax Department, if it did not withdraw the allegations and tender an apology.
The said broadcast (of Republic TV) is based on false factual premises with a clear ulterior malicious motive of demeaning our clients in the eyes of public... Your aforesaid statements amount to defamation both civil and criminal under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code punishable under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code with imprisonment which may extend to 2 years.Legal Notice served by Robert Vadra
WHY IS ALL THIS HAPPENING?
The legal notice served to Goswami and his colleague Prema Sridevi (editor, news and special projects at Republic TV) on 14 July is a response to Republic TV's coverage, titled ‘The Vadra Papers’ on 25 June. The channel reported that Vadra's firm had an alleged "undisclosed income" of Rs 43 crore from the assessment year 2010-11. Citing an Income Tax Department report as well as its sources, the channel further reported that "Robert has decided not to pay Rs 25.8 crore in tax as his company has been ordered to on its almost Rs 43 crore alleged undisclosed income".
Calling it the "first concrete action" that the Modi government had taken against Vadra's business dealings, the channel went on to say that the I-T Department report "detailed for the first time the tax evasion angle" to his business and "raised questions over how the alleged evasion was overlooked by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government".
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Considering Goswami's response, in which he is far from apologising for Republic TV's coverage, it is likely that Vadra will file a defamation suit against the channel in the days to come, thereby setting off a legal battle.
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