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News portal scribes appear before court

Source: TOI

Ahmedabad: Journalists associated with the news portal The Wire appeared before a metropolitan court on Monday in response to the summons issued earlier on defamation charges leveled against them by BJP national chief Amit Shah's son Jay Shah for publishing an article on sudden rise in revenue of his company, Temple Enterprise Pvt Ltd.

All five persons - Rohini Singh who penned the article and editors of the portal Siddharth Varadrajan, Siddharth Bhatia, M K Venu and Monobina Gupta marked their presence before the court. The court handed over case papers to them. One of the founding editors, Pamela Philipose, could not turn up and it was submitted by their advocate Somnath Vatsa that she was abroad.

Summons could not be served on the trust that runs the news portal - Foundation for Independent Journalists - due to wrong address furnished before the court. Hence, the court issued summons to Philipose and to the trust again. Further proceeding has been posted on December 16. Meanwhile, complainant Jay Shah did not remain present during the court proceeding. His advocate submitted that Shah was busy in "social work" and therefore he could not attend the proceedings. Exemption from presence in court was requested for the complainant.

After completion of the proceeding, The Wire's founding editor Varadrajan told reporters, "This case is false and completely baseless. The article written was wholly based on facts. This is nothing else but to suppress the freedom of expression and an effort to mute journalists. But we are not going to sit silently and will fight it out." Taking cognizance of the complaint, additional chief metropolitan court S K Gadhvi issued summons that the complaint prima facie revealed offence of defamation and abetment in publication of article 'The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah'. The court refused to accept charges of criminal conspiracy though.
The Wire's article quoted the documents filed with the Registrar of Companies and said that Shah's company's revenue witnessed a staggering rise from Rs 50,000 in 2014-15 to Rs 80.50 crore in 2015-16. It received unsecured loan of Rs 15.78 crore from one Rajesh Khandwala.

STORY BY

Mumbai Press Club
Editor
Article posted on 15/11/2017

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