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Former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar wanted the public broadcaster to pay his legal expenses in a criminal conspiracy case, was rejected

Jawhar Sircar wanted Prasar Bharati to officially defend him in the District and Sessions Court, Haveri, Karnataka, which had issued a summon to him in a case filed by Mahesh Joshi, former Additional Director General of Doordarshan

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Jawhar Sircar, the former CEO of Pasar Bharati, had asked the public sector broadcaster to pay for his legal expenses in a case filed by a former official of Doordarshan, which was declined by Prasar Bharati.

OpIndia has learnt that Jawhar Sircar had sent two emails to Prasar Bharati, on 28 March 2019 and 11 April 2019, requesting that the organisation should defend him officially in the case, as he was a CEO of the organisation. But Prasar Bharati decided against it and declined to defend him officially. In a letter written to Sircar on 27 June 2019, Prasar Bharati states that the Management Committee of the organisation has come to the conclusion that the cause of those litigations can’t be considered as “acts committed in discharge of official duties”. Therefore, it was decided not to defend him officially.

Prasar Bharati, however, agreed to provide him certified copies of relevant records from official files, as per his requests which were needed by him in the case.

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The letter also said that as Prasar Bharati is a not party to the case, they can’t get involved in it. They have informed the court that Jawhar Sircar is no longer associated with Prasar Bharati, the letter informed. It may be noted that Sirvar had resigned from Prasar Bharati in October 2016.

Jawhar Sircar wanted Prasar Bharati to officially defend him in the District and Sessions Court, Haveri, Karnataka, which had issued a summon to him in a case filed by Mahesh Joshi, former Additional Director General of Doordarshan. Joshi has accused several Doordarshan officials of filling a false sexual harassment case against him, after charges against him were found fabricated by Delhi Police and Delhi High Court.

The matter pertains to a defamation case filed by Mahesh Joshi against Prerana Sharma and several other officials of Doordarshan for filing false sexual harassment charges against Joshi. Prerana Sharma, a production assistant at Doordarshan, had filed false charges of sexual harassment against then ADG Mahesh Joshi after a documentary film made by her was rejected for national competition. A committee of experts had found the film devoid of standards, technical excellence, and hence it was rejected.

After that Sharma had filed a complaint to higher authorities claiming that her talent was not being recognised. At that time, she had not mentioned anything about sexual harassment. When officials had found her charges to be bogus, they had dismissed them, but after that Prerana Sharma levelled sexual harassment charges against Joshi, alleging that he had made ‘lewd looks’ towards her during the screening of her film. This was quickly refuted by photographs of the screening, where she was seen sitting several rows behind Joshi with no possibility of eye contact. Therefore, the Internal Complaints Committee had rejected her allegations.

After that Sharma filed a FIR against Joshi with Delhi police. When Delhi police too found no merit in her case and didn’t proceed with it, she had filed a writ petition with Delhi High Court requesting court’s directions to police to book Joshi. In its judgement dated 29th February 2016, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the petition, saying it is devoid of merits.

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During the internal hearing and court trials, although most witnesses rejected Prerana Sharma’s allegations, there were some officials of Doordarshan who had testified against Joshi, suggesting a well-planned conspiracy to deny him the promotion to the post of Director-General. After this, Mahesh Joshi had filed a criminal defamation case with a Karnataka Court against Prerana Sharma and others who had made malicious charges against him.

The summon was issued to Jawhar Sircar in regard to this case, as he too was made a party in the case filed by Mahesh Joshi. The Senior Civil Judge & JMFC Hangal in Karnataka had found ample reasons and evidence of ‘criminal conspiracy’ to defame Mahesh Joshi, and had ordered criminal proceedings against all the accused in the court. After that, a review petition was submitted with the Haveri court, which issued the summons to Sircar and others.

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