A Gujarat metropolitan court on Tuesday issued summons to a reporter and editors of ‘The Wire’ in a criminal defamation suit filed by Jay Shah, son of BJP president Amit Shah. The court held that there was a prima facie case and ordered them to appear before it on November 13.
Jay Shah had moved the metropolitan court after the news portal published a report on October 8, stating, among other things, that the turnover of his company Temple Enterprise Private Ltd increased 16,000 times in the year following the BJP’s election to power at the Centre in 2014.
The seven respondents in the case are the author of the article, Rohini Singh, founding editors – Siddarth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia and M K Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and the Foundation for Independent Journalism, the non-profit company that publishes ‘The Wire’.
Metropolitan magistrate S K Gadhvi recorded the statements of two witnesses produced by Jay and heard his lawyer SV Raju’s argument. The magistrate held there was a prima facie case against the accused and issued summons.
Raju said ‘The Wire’ published the report in a hurry without giving proper time to the complainant to respond. “The report was not an attempt to bring out the truth, but it was to create a political issue ahead of elections,” he said.
In his application, Jay has sought “criminal action against the respondents for defaming and tarnishing the reputation of the complainant through an article, which is scandalous, frivolous, misleading, derogatory, libelous and consisting of several defamatory statements”.
The BJP chief’s son has also filed a civil defamation suit before the Ahmedabad district (Mirzapur) court against ‘The Wire’ and has sought Rs 100 crore for publishing alleged defamatory article on his company. In this case, the court has ordered the news portal to refrain from further reporting.