The CEO and a senior journalist of Mangalam TV, which recently aired a lewd phone conversation of former minister A K Saseendran, were produced in court on Friday in handcuffs. CEO R Ajith Kumar and investigation team head K Jayachandran were produced before the court which granted three days’ police custody.
The duo, along with three other journalists, were arrested on Tuesday after the police acted on a complaint from NCP leader Mujeeb Rahman. The other three journalists are in judicial custody.
They face charges under Section 120 (B) of the IPC and Section 67 (A) of IT Act. Curiously, Saseendran, who had to quit from the cabinet, had filed no complaint against the sting operation of Mangalam TV.
Mangalam scribes are also facing the heat of the standoff between advocates and journalists as none from Thiruvananthapu-ram Bar appeared for the duo on Tuesday night. They managed to get a lawyer on Friday to appear for them in the court.
A Mangalam source said, “Our CEO had defended the journalists’ side in media discussions about the clash between scribes and lawyers. Hence, the advocates have a grudge against him. When he was produced in court on Friday, they were seen showering abuses on him.’’
Thiruvananthapuram city police deputy commissioner Arul R B Krishna said the handcuffing of the journalists was not intentional. “When they were taken out of the police vehicle, the handcuffs should have been removed. But, we had reports that the advocates may attack the journalists on the court premises… our primary concern was to ensure their protection.’’
Media critic and former MP Sebastian Paul said the handcuffing could not be justified. “These journalists had not committed any heinous crime,” said Paul.