A Delhi Court has ordered registration of FIR against Republic TV and its editor Arnab Goswami on a complained filed by Shashi Tharoor. The Congress leader had alleged that the channel had stolen confidential documents related to the investigation into the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Tharoor had also alleged that his email account was hacked by the channel to obtain information about the case.
In the complaint, Shashi Tharoor had accused Republic TV and Arnab Goswami of gaining illegal access to police records and his email account, and then broadcasting the same on the channel to boost its viewership. Response to an RTI query had revealed that the information showed by the channel was not available in the public domain, the complaint further added.
Responding to the complaint, Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh said that a police investigation is required to find out how the channel got access to the documents, and persons associated with it should be examined in the matter, as it discloses a cognizable offence.
“In these circumstances, SHO concerned is directed to register FIR in this matter and investigate the same as per law. Copy of this order be sent to SHO concerned for compliance,” ordered the court.
The order was issued by the court on January 21, but it was made public yesterday.
During the hearing, Tharoor’s advocate said that during the investigation into the death, police collected a number of items/materials of the Sunanda Pushkar and recorded statements of Shashi Tharoor and one of his aides Narain Singh. All those documents/materials were part of the confidential record and within the sole possession of the investigation team.
Advocate Vikas Pahwa said that “during several broadcast, certain documents were shown on News channel which were stated to be documents related to investigation of the death of complainant’s wife. Such documents are copy of internal file notings of Delhi police, copy of statement of complainant given to Delhi police, copy of statement of complainant’s aide Narain Singh, pictures of deceased which were taken during autopsy”.
Further, when Shashi Tharoor had made RTI queries with the Delhi Police, he was informed that “it is not permissible to share the information/documents related to any investigation to any public member/ media till the case is pending investigation”.
Shashi Tharoor alleged that the RTI reply clearly indicates that the channel had accessed the documents illegally, but the police did not take any action, forcing him to file the complaint with the court.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead was found dead in room number 345 of the Leela Palace hotel in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi on 17th January 2014. According to initial reports, Sunanda was suspected to have committed suicide. Later reports stated that the cause of death was unnatural. Recently Shashi Tharoor was charged in the case for cruelty and abetment to suicide. The court has ordered the start of the trial against Tharoor from February 21.