National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s son Vivek Doval on Monday filed a criminal defamation complaint against ‘The Caravan’ magazine for publishing a defamatory article “with mala fide intent”, the article’s writer, Kaushal Shroff, and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh for addressing a press conference on the basis of the report “without verifying the facts”.
The matter has been listed for hearing on Tuesday. The Caravan’s political editor Hartosh Singh Bal told The Indian Express, “…Before doing the article, we gave them four days to comment but no response was received from their side…. Adequate time was given to them to respond…. We have gone by facts and we have documents in this regard.”
Contacted, Ramesh did not comment.
Citing urgency, Vivek Doval’s counsel D P Singh urged Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur that the complaint be listed at the earliest. The magistrate ordered it to be placed before the court concerned on Thursday.
On January 16, The Caravan had published an article, “The D Companies”, which stated that “Ajit Doval’s sons run a web of companies including a Cayman Islands hedge fund even as father demands crackdown on tax havens”.
It alleged that the fund headed by Vivek Doval, based in the Cayman Islands, was involved in laundering black money and routing it to India after demonetisation was implemented in 2016.
The complaint stated, “The article has been used as a political tool to foster in unscrupulous hands to seek vendetta and wreak vengeance. An analysis of the article suggests Accused No. 3 (Shroff) has purposely and with mala fide intent scripted the article in a manner that the average reader will perceive the facts narrated therein only in a certain tainted colour. The title of the article itself is scandalous…”
“Accused No. 2 (Caravan) and 3 (Shroff), with a mala fide intent, titled the article ‘The D-Companies’, creating a prejudice in minds of readers against the complainant and his family,” it stated.
On the Congress Rajya Sabha MP, it said, “The sudden rush to the press conference (on January 17) on facts derived from an article …and undue haste shown to do so without verifying the facts, does indicate towards mala fide of Accused No. 1 (Ramesh)…. It becomes clear from the tone and tenor of Accused No. 1 that the insinuations levelled are of far reaching consequence, per se defamatory and libelous.” In the complaint filed under IPC Sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation), Vivek Doval, 41, sought the court’s order to summon them as accused, and try and punish them for the offence.
In the complaint, Doval stated that the idea of starting a hedge fund was formed back in 2013 with his friend Amit Sharma in London. After several deliberations with stakeholders, the fund commenced in 2016, with several reputed businessmen on board.
Doval stated that announcement of demonetisation and the firm’s launch, “though proximate in time, are two completely independent events, none being related to other, even remotely”.
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