OVER EIGHT years after a mob attacked the offices of television news channel IBN7 and IBN Lokmat, its then editor-in-chief, Nikhil Wagle, deposed as a witness before the court Monday. Wagle was declared hostile by the prosecution after he denied most of his statement allegedly made before the police in 2009 at the time of the FIR.
Wagle told the court that he had heard a commotion in the office and gone towards the reception. He claimed that he heard a few people shouting slogans, including “Shiv Sena zindabad”. He also said the men were shouting that criticism against the party would not be accepted. He, however, denied that he was assaulted by the mob that had entered the Vikhroli office. “It is not correct to say that I was assaulted. There was an attempt to assault me but my colleagues saved me,” he said. Wagle added that some of the staff members had been assaulted.
In 2009, a complaint was filed at the Parksite police station claiming that a mob had entered the office of the TV channels armed with baseball bats, cricket stumps and iron rods. A glass facade and other office equipment were damaged in the attack. The police had said the accused would also be booked under Section 307 of the IPC. A counter complaint was also filed where Wagle was named as an accused.
In April this year, both the parties approached the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR claiming that a settlement had been reached. The HC had, however, refused to allow it.
Wagle accepted that a petition was filed, but claimed that it was not correct to say he was falsely deposing since there had been a compromise. He said he did not know if the assailants belonged to the Sena but assumed so because of their slogans.
“I came to the conclusion that the Shiv Sena was behind the attack as the newspaper Saamana wrote an editorial accepting responsibility for it the next day,” he said.