The ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd, the parent company of news channel Republic TV has filed a defamation suit against Times Now anchor Navika Kumar for making defamatory statements against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami in connection with the Whatsapp chats related to ‘Fake TRP’ scam.
According to the reports, the defamation complaint was filed against Navika Kumar before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House court in Delhi.
The petition stated that Republic TV had taken exception to Kumar’s statements on January 18, 2021, on her show – Newshour. Navika had allegedly made false claims relating to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami’s Whatsapp chats, which Republic TV said were distorted and misconstrued.
The plea alleged that Navika Kumar spewed reckless and grossly defamatory material and telecast the same on TV and published them on the internet. The complaint also stated that in an attempt to colour the public’s minds, Kumar accused the complainant of “building its success” on “TRP manipulation”.
“By misusing, misconstruing and distorting the documents from the Mumbai Police’s charge-sheet in the TRP Scam, mainly the WhatsApp Chats, and without regard to the matter being sub judice both before the lower courts at Mumbai and the Hon’ble Bombay High Court, the Accused Person has gone on a reckless spree to spew grossly defamatory material mentioned below that has been telecast, published, circulated and disseminated on the TV Channel Times Now as well as the internet in various portal such as the Youtube,” the complaint reads.
Navika Kumar made “rabid and unfounded claims” against Arnab Goswami, says the petition
The petition has alleged that Navika Kumar made “rabid and unfounded claims” accusing Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami of “endangering national security” and “leaking state secrets”.
The plea alleged that Navika Kumar was jealous and the defamatory content aired by her was a consequence of such professional jealousy. It mentions that Goswami had launched Times Now in 2006 and had taken it to the number 1 position in a year. It claimed that Times Now and Kumar are now harboring professional jealousy against Republic TV because of its success.
“The Accused is currently still part of the company Times Now. The said fact is in itself enough to show the motive of the Accused Persons to unnecessarily defame the Editor in chief of the complainant company and in turn to impact the reputation of the complainant company. It is in fact for the reason that the Complainant company in itself has now gathered attraction that the Accused is jealous and the lack of ability of the Accused to match the success of the Complainant company, has caused this defamatory show to be aired,” the petition said.
Although Article 19 (a) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression but clause 2 puts an embargo on derogatory speech, it is argued.
The petition says that Navika Kumar had falsely claimed that Republic TV had access to unauthorized official secrets to the Balakot airstrikes before the strikes took place. It says that many media outlets had published reports speculating a major retaliation by India after the Pulwama attacks and there was a lot of public discussion over the same.
Republic TV sends legal notice to Indian Express for story on Arnab Goswami
Earlier, Republic TV had slapped a legal notice to left-wing media outlet Indian Express for its story titled ‘Arnab Goswami paid me $12,000 and Rs 40 lakh to fix ratings: Partho Dasgupta’.
In its notice, Republic TV had accused Indian Express of carrying out malafide, vicious and vexatious campaign to tarnish the reputation of its Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami.
“Despite the pendency of the matter before a court of law, which is well known to you, the above news report has attributed guilt to our client in relation to the alleged TRP scam. The news report has sought to impute guilt on our client without paying any heed to the true facts and to the indeterminacy of the issues and pending court action by our client before the Hon’ble Bombay High Court”, read the notice.
Republic further accused Indian Express of manipulating its readers with ‘squarely deliberate and mischievous’ headlines.
Republic TV asked Indian Express to cease and desist from publishing such news and demanded an unconditional apology and a proposal on monetary compensation for the news report.