A Delhi court Saturday summoned Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and the editor-in-chief of ‘The Caravan’ magazine as accused in a defamation case filed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s son Vivek.
They have been asked to appear before the court on April 25 after Vivek Doval sought action over an alleged defamatory article.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal also summoned Kaushal Shroff, who wrote the article.
The magazine’s January 16 article, titled ‘The D Companies’, had reported: “Ajit Doval’s sons run a web of companies including a Cayman Islands hedge fund even as father demands crackdown on tax havens.”
The court said, “Allegations of the respondents (Caravan, its staff and Jairam Ramesh) are prima facie defamatory and refer to complainant Mr Vivek Doval, therefore, he is an aggrieved person within the meaning of Section 199 of the Code of Criminal Procedure… “He has denied the allegations made against him directly and otherwise by the respondents as false and imaginary. These defamatory statements have been published, widely read and particularly by the witnesses examined who deposed that the reputation of the complainant was lowered in their estimation.”
The court held that there is “sufficient grounds to proceed against all the respondents. Accordingly Mr Jairam Ramesh, Mr Paresh Nath, the Editor-in-Chief of Caravan Magazine, and Mr Kaushal Shroff… are summoned for commission of offence of defamation…” Vivek had sought prosecution of Ramesh for using the article to address a press conference, allegedly “without verifying the facts”. However, The Caravan’s political editor Hartosh Singh Bal had said, “We have gone by facts and we have documents.”
The order was issued after Vivek Doval, a UK national, recorded pre-summoning evidence along with his business partner Amit Sharma and friend Nikhil Kapoor in the complaint.
The complaint has stated, “The article has been used as a political tool to foster in unscrupulous hands to seek vendetta and wreak vengeance….”