Vivek Doval Wednesday alleged before a Delhi court that ‘The Caravan’ magazine and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh ran a “malicious campaign” to target his father and NSA Ajit Doval by branding his family as “anti-national”.
Vivek made the allegation in his statement recorded before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal in the criminal defamation complaint filed by him against the magazine and Ramesh.
“My family was referred as D-companies whereas we all know that in our country, the D-company refers to Dawood Ibrahim, who figures in the most wanted list. Question was thus raised on me and my family, specially on my father, who has dedicated his life for the service of this country, also fighting against Dawood. The article branded me and my family as anti-nationals…
“I was a soft target but in fact it was my family, specially my father, who was the target of the malicious campaign,” Vivek told the court.
The comparison of Doval family with D-companies created an impression that we were doing anti-national and illegal activities which is the most preposterous charge, he said.
Vivek completed recording of his statement in the complaint and the court has now posted the matter for further hearing on February 11, when it is likely to record the testimonies of other two witnesses cited by the complainant.
The Caravan in its January 16 online write-up titled ‘The D Companies’ alleged that Vivek Doval, “runs a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands” which is “an established tax haven” and was “registered merely 13 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government demonetised all existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, in 2016”.
According to the complaint, Ramesh held a press conference on January 17, reiterating the “baseless and unfounded facts” as narrated in the article.
“The Caravan articles and Ramesh’s press conference have been pieced by bringing in random facts, misfacts, misleading inferences to create an impression that illegal activities have been undertaken by the Doval family, including money laundering, round tripping of capital, knowing of demonetisation in advance which has tarnished my and my family image,” Vivek further told the court.
He said that his family’s image was further tarnished as the article and the press conference “invited comments from public terming me as ‘Chota Doval’, putting me in line with ‘Chota Rajan’ and ‘Chota Shakil’, who are hardened terrorists.”
Vivek said the defamatory articles and press conference have tarnished his image as a professional globally and that it will be hard or impossible to recover from this setback, adding that his father had no connection with his or his brother’s business.
With regard to Ramesh, the complaint said the press conference addressed by him went “beyond the mere narration in the article” and that he was already geared and armed to launch an attack, “merely waiting for the publication of the article”, which could then provide a “smokescreen to the otherwise targeted and deliberate attack on the reputation of the complainant and his family”.
The complaint said the article has been used as a political tool to “foster in unscrupulous hands” to “seek vendetta and wreak vengeance”.
It also said that the very act of setting up and launching of a hedge fund, whether in the Cayman Islands or any other place in the world, is not by itself an illegal and unlawful act.
“However, the same, even without explicitly so stating, has been portrayed in a manner that leads to the very setting up and launching of the hedge fund being perceived as an unlawful act,” it added.
The complaint alleged that “a web of conjectures and surmises has been devised by selective and careful nitpicking of random facts in respect of the complainant, his brother and his father – the facts being completely unrelated to one another – and presenting them in a manner that hints at deep-rooted conspiracies between the family members, in carrying out laundering of black money, by rerouting of funds into India through the Cayman Islands, in the post-demonetization era”.