An FIR on a criminal complaint by Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor has been registered by a Delhi court against news channel Republic TV and its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, on accusations of stealing confidential documents pertaining to the probe into the death of Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar, and alleged hacking of his e-mail account.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh stated, “… In view of allegations levelled by complainant (Tharoor) and material produced on record in the form of the RTI replies and other material, matter discloses commission of cognizable offence… In view of this court, the matter requires investigation by police as it is not clear how said material came in the possession of proposed accused persons (the channel, Goswami and a journalist).”
It further stated that a “number of persons are to be examined… In these circumstances, the Station House Officer (SHO) concerned is directed to register FIR in this matter and investigate the same as per law.”
The magistrate listed the matter for April 4, by which time the police have to file their compliance report.
On behalf of Tharoor, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and advocate Gaurav Gupta accused Goswami of gaining illegal access to confidential documents that were part of police probe records, and hacking into Tharoor’s e-mail account to access personal e-mails, which were then broadcast on news channel to increase viewership.
They alleged that the channel broadcast certain documents which were stated to be related to the investigation into Pushkar’s death.
“Such documents are copy of internal file notings of Delhi Police, copy of statement of complainant given to Delhi Police, copy of statement of complainant’s aide Mr Narain Singh, pictures of deceased which were taken during autopsy,” Tharoor’s counsel said.
In its four-page order, the court said that a report was sought from the SHO concerned. “Same is perused. As per said report, vigilance inquiry is being conducted regarding present issue,” it noted.
The counsel also informed the court about a civil suit filed by Tharoor before the Delhi High Court and a criminal complaint before the trial court, seeking damages from Goswami and his channel for allegedly making malicious and defamatory remarks against him.
Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi on January 17, 2014.
(With inputs from Indian Express)