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Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had alleged that Arnab Goswami illegally accessed confidential documents relating to the probe in Pushkar’s death

The Patiala House Court has directed the Delhi Police to register a First Information Report against Republic TV and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on a complaint filed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Tharoor had moved the court seeking directions to the police for filing an FIR against Goswami. The Congress MP had alleged that Tharoor and his news channel “illegally accessed confidential documents” related to the investigation into Pushkar’s mysterious death and broadcast them on Republic TV. It has also been alleged that Goswami accessed Tharoor’s Email account without his authority or consent and shared the personal emails on the news channel. Tharoor’s counsel had informed the court that the Delhi police, through a reply sought under the RTI Act, had stated that “it is not permissible to share the information/documents related to any investigation to any public member/media till the case is pending investigation.”

Tharoor’s legal team also informed the court that the Congress MP had first filed a complaint with the Delhi police regarding “theft of those documents/materials and regarding hacking of his Email account.” However, the Delhi police failed to take any action on his complaint following which Tharoor was forced to move court.

Passing an order directing the Delhi police to register an FIR against Goswami and investigate the alleged illegalities committed by him and Republic TV, Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh, said: “This court is of the considered view that in view of allegations leveled by complainant and material produced on record in the form of RTI replies and other material, matter discloses commission of cognizable offence… and requires investigation by police as it is not clear that how said material came in the possession of proposed accused persons.”

The order was passed on January 21.

This isn’t the first time that Goswami has come into trouble with the courts for his and Republic TV’s reporting on the Sunanda Pushkar death case. Earlier, on December 1, 2017, the Delhi High Court had passed strident strictures against Goswami stating: “before airing any story pertaining to the plaintiff (Shashi Tharoor), the defendants (Arnab Goswami and Republic TV) shall give the plaintiff a written notice, by electronic mode, asking for his version”, and added that if the Congress MP refuses to reply to these queries then “he will not be compelled to speak”.

The Delhi High Court had also noted: “media reporting should be sensitive to the indeterminacy of the questions raised in the proceedings” and that the “press cannot ‘convict’ anyone or insinuate that he/she is guilty or make any other unsubstantiated claims.”

—India Legal Bureau

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