Journalist Arnab Goswami and his news channel Republic TV have told the Delhi High Court that they have neither “condemned” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, nor suggested that he was involved in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. In their affidavits filed before Justice Manmohan, Goswami and the channel have denied that Tharoor was called “the killer” of his wife by him or the channel, as alleged by the Congress MP.
“They (Goswami, news channel) have been cautious in the reporting of news in relation to the death of the deceased and have neither condemned plaintiff (Tharoor), nor suggested that he was involved or responsible for the mysterious death,” the replies of the journalist and the channel, filed through advocate Rajat Pradhan, said.
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They were responding to the notice issued to them by the court on Tharoor’s Rs two crore civil defamation suit filed against them for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him on the issue of the mysterious death of Pushkar.
The high court on August 4 had asked Goswami and Republic TV to respect Tharoor’s “right to silence,” but did not give an order on the Congress MP’s plea to restrain the news network from alleged misreporting on his wife’s death.
In the affidavits, they have also alleged that Tharoor has failed to adduce any material or specify the comments in connection with Pushkar’s death, that allegedly “defamed or lowered his reputation”.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in South Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. The matter is still under investigation.
Tharoor, by way of a separate application in the pending suit, has sought a direction to restrain the journalist and the channel from “misreporting” the case of Pushkar’s death.
The politician has alleged that despite assurance given in the court on May 29 by the counsel for Goswami and Republic TV, they were engaged in “defaming and maligning” him.
The Congress leader had also sought direction to them that they should not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar” anywhere, since it is yet to be established by a competent court that her death was “murder”.
The court had on May 29 said the journalist and his news channel could put out stories stating the facts related to the investigation of Pushkar’s death but could not call the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram a “criminal”.
Goswami and the channel said that they have abided by the court’s direction and in “no manner misreported or misled the viewers as the facts were correctly reported”.
They have also claimed that the suit has been “instituted with an oblique and ulterior motive and is a misguided attempt to muzzle a media channel and the dissemination of true facts to the public”.