A DISTRICT court in Guwahati held a former editor of a local English daily guilty in a defamation case and sentenced him to one month in jail and a fine of Rs 5,000. The case was filed by senior BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in 2010 when he was a minister in the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government.
In an order dated March 20, U Borah, judicial magistrate of Kamrup district, handed over the sentence to Bikash Sarma.
In 2010, when Bikash was the editor of The Sentinel, Himanta had filed a defamation case against the paper’s editor, associate editor and publisher and rights activist Akhil Gogoi in connection with a report published in the newspaper.
A journalist in The Sentinel, who did not want to be named, said that during the course of the trial, Gogoi denied having made the defamatory statement that was published in the report. When contacted, Gogoi told The Indian Express, “The Sentinel newspaper misquoted me that day. I had submitted my press statement of that day to the court and they found a mismatch between the newspaper’s story and my statement.”