Dhruv Rathee, the popular pro-AAP video blogger has been sued for defamation to the tune of Rs. 15 Lakhs by a software engineer and BJP volunteer Vikas Pandey. The case of defamation has been filed by Pandey owing to a three-part video series that Dhruv Rathee had released on his YouTube channel that alleged that Vikas Pandey was a member of the BJP IT Cell and had tried to bribe some Mahaveer Prasad (who claims is an ex BJP IT Cell member) with Rs 50 lakh to speak against him.
In a document released by Vikas Pandey, he has enumerated how Dhruv Rathee allegedly defamed Pandey by making tall and malicious allegations without providing any substantive proof.
Vikas Pandey has also alleged that this video made by pro-AAP video blogger Dhruv Rathee was shared by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that “led to a lynch mob against him and his family on social media”.
Mr. @ArvindKejriwal shared his video adding credibility to his claims. this led to lynch mob against me and my family on social media.
— Vikas Pandey (@MODIfiedVikas) October 1, 2018
Pandey says that he has initiated a civil defamation suit against Rathee and is in consultation with his family and might also initiate a criminal defamation suit against him in due course of time.
Vikas Pandey said, “Dhruv Rathee says that he asked Mahaveer to install an app to record calls. He claims that he suggested the idea to Mahaveer so that he can record all calls, which it did according to him. His whole video is based on that ‘recording’ which he claims many times in the same video/follow-up tweets and media interviews, had bribe offer in it. He, however ‘regrets’ that he didn’t have the recording of ’50 lakh bribe’ offer in a follow-up video after I filed a police complaint. Why was that call recording not available? Hasn’t he just claimed in this video that he heard it all including a lot of ‘abusive ones’?”
Pandey adds, “In follow-up interviews and tweets he repeatedly mentions that I had offered bribe a huge amount of 50 lakh to Mahaveer. Such sensational tweets/articles have been widely circulated and shared by thousands. After the police complaint, he concedes he had no recording, no chat, or no proof whatsoever to make such claims against me”.
OpIndia reached out to Vikas Pandey and asked him what he would say to people who might allege that this is him trying to stifle free speech. Vikas Pandey said, “Freedom of expression is limited to opinions. Not statements alleging criminality without any proof. Dhruv Rathee is free to hate me. He is not free to accuse me of bribing anyone without providing any proof. That tarnishes my image and is defamation, not freedom of speech. He spent time and effort releasing a 3 part video where he convinced many that I was a criminal. I am not. He provided no proof for his baseless, motivated allegations. Freedom of Expression is not the right to lie”.