On Saturday, the Patiala House court summoned Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Caravan editor Paresh Nath and journalist Kaushal Shroff in a defamation suit file by Vivek Doval, the son of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Vivek Doval had filed the defamation suit after the Caravan magazine had published an article insinuating that the hedge fund run by him was indulging in money laundering, and his business had taken undue advantage of his father’s position. It was alleged by Caravan that the fund was set up at the same time when the decision of demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹2000 banknotes was announced by PM Narendra Modi, and the fund was set up to launder black money affected by this decision. The article was used by the Congress in a press conference to allege corruption in the businesses of Vivek Doval. After that, Doval had filed defamation charges against the editor of the magazine and author of the article, along with Jairam Ramesh for spreading the article further.
The complained by Vivek Doval says that he was maligned and defamed through the article to settle scores with his father Ajit Doval, who is the current NSA of India. He had said that the hedge fund that he manages is a completely legitimate business, but the accused persons had made grave and serious allegations of money laundering against the Fund. The complaint also included the complete profile of Vivek, including his educational qualifications and experience in the financial sector, and gave detail of the process of setting up the hedge fund to prove that it was conceptualised much before the demonetisation.
On January 30, Vivek Doal had appeared in the court in connection with the case and recorded his statement. He had said “I felt disturbed and humiliated on being questioned by my father in this manner as I have been a committed professional all my life,” referring to the article published by Caravan. He had reiterated that the accusations made against him were false.
After going through all the documents presented in the court in connection with the defamation suit, the court noted that allegations made by the Caravan Magazine and the Congress leader are prima facie defamatory, and the complainant Vivek Doval is an aggrieved person within the meaning of section 199 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The order issued by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal says that an inquiry has already been completed by examining the complainant and his witnesses as required under the law. Going by the proceedings already completed, sufficient grounds exist to proceed against the respondents, the court said. Accordingly, Jairam Ramesh, Paresh Nath and Kaushal Shroff were summoned by the court for defamation case under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. They have been ordered to appear before the Judge on April 25.
The full court order can be read here:
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