S Nagesh Kumar,Resident Editor of Hyderabad edition of The Hindu,has been booked for publishing a report allegedly without verifying facts.
The report published on September 13 said Director General of Police (DGP) V Dinesh Reddy visited the house of godman Habib Mustafa Idrus Baba at Fateh Darwaza and spent about 40 minutes there.
The report titled DGP visiting Old City godman raises eyebrows also carried a photograph showing the top cop sitting beside the godman with folded hands. It said the visit caused inconvenience to people as police regulated traffic in the Charminar area to facilitate the convoy of the DGP.
The case under IPC sections 469 and 505 (1) (a) and (b) and section 3 of Police Incitement to Disaffection Act of 1992 was registered based on a complaint lodged by Assistant Commissioner of Police Ram Narasimha Reddy,who is president of AP Police Gazetted Officers Association. He said the report was false and published without verifying facts.
The ACP said the publication was mala fide to harm the reputation of the DGP office in particular and the police force in general to cause alarm and fear among the public and with an ulterior motive to demoralise the force. Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) V Satyanarayana said the matter was under investigation.
Police also registered a case against two employees of Zee 24 Ghantalu under section 469 of IPC (forgery to harm reputation) and section 66A (offensive message) of IT Act based on a complaint by L Subba Rao,Deputy Inspector General (DIG),Administration. Rao said the footage shown on the news channel was morphed.
The godmans family lodged another complaint against Zee News for calling him a land-grabber. Zee employees were arrested and have been sent to judicial custody.
The Hindu responded Wednesday with a statement from its editor Siddharth Varadarajan. Angry with The Hindu for having publicized a recent meeting he had with a well-known Hyderabad religious figure,Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy has orchestrated the filing of an FIR against S Nagesh Kumar,Resident Editor (AP) of The Hindu,claiming our news report was published with intent to cause fear to the public and thereby to induce the public to commit breach of peace and public harmony. Needless to say,these charges are baseless,and we will fight them. They represent a clear attempt by the DGP to use the police to try and intimidate the media in general and The Hindu in particular. The Hindu takes its responsibilities as a leading national newspaper very seriously. We also take the freedom of press very seriously.
V Dinesh Reddy,who retires on superannuation this month-end unless given an extension,is facing a CBI probe for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets. On September 6,the Supreme Court directed the CBI to probe a petition filed by IPS officer Umesh Kumar.
Reddy has petitioned the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for extension,citing a Supreme Court judgment that the tenure of a DGP should be fixed at two years. The CAT has referred the matter to the state government.