The death of former IAS officer, Doddakoppalu Kariyappa Ravi in 2015, has stirred up a new controversy.
On Wednesday, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George filed a criminal defamation complaint against Arnab Ranjan Goswami, the former Editor-in-Chief of Times Now, and against Times Now.
According to the complaint filed by Minister George, the “sly and blatantly false innuendoes and statements” made by Arnab Goswami on Times Now Super Prime Time “were false, malicious, and was a defamatory campaign and propaganda to insinuate KJ George having a vested interest in DK Ravi’s death.”
An FIR was filed at the Jeevan Bhima Nagar Police Station, after which the complaint was submitted to the 10thAdditional District Magistrate Court under sections 499, 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, read along with sections 34 and 35 of the IPC.
“The well-respected IAS officer, DK Ravi, died on March 16, 2015. Just a day later, Arnab Goswami, without proper investigation, declared his death to be a murder and accused KJ George, who was the then Home Minister, of being involved in DK Ravi’s death, of running a mafia and destroying evidence. This amounts to interfering in the judicial process and hence the complaint was filed today,” Minister George’s lawyer, Ajesh Kumar Shankar, told TNM.
Minister KJ George, who was present at the hearing, said that although the programme was aired in 2015, he had filed the complaint almost two years later as he was waiting for the CBI probe to conclude.
“After DK Ravi’s death, there were false allegations made against me by Arnab Goswami and Times Now that I was involved in the murder. Arnab Goswami, in his shows, had said that the Embassy Group and my company Kelachandra Group colluded together to kill DK Ravi, stating that the deceased IAS officer was investigating an encroachment by the Embassy Group,” KJ George recalled.
The complaint quotes 46 statements aired by Times Now between March 17 and 23, 2015 - some made by Arnab Goswami on screen, and others run as tickers on the show. According to the complaint, Arnab called KJ George a “gangster, murderer, a destroyer of evidence.”
“I will reveal the truth. There is strong suspicion that DK Ravi was under pressure from a Business Group,” Arnab allegedly said, according to the complaint.
KJ George has now countered the accusations made against him on the show, and has insisted that “the accused (Arnab Goswami and Times Now) did not have an iota of evidence to substantiate their accusations.”
Speaking to TNM, the Minister said, “The CID and CBI probes have concluded that DK Ravi committed suicide. I waited for my name to be cleared, and to see if any counter complaints would be filed, and only after that did I decide to file a criminal defamation complaint against Arnab Goswami.”
The complaint states that the “malicious campaign by the accused (Arnab Goswami) on national television, was orchestrated with mala fide to destroy the reputation of the complainant (KJ George), humiliate him and embarrass him before society”.
“The complainant travels across India and abroad as a part of his professional assignments, and in view of the false news published by the accused, he is facing embarrassment when he is asked about the said news. The complainant has been asked by members of his family, his constituency and other persons, whom he interacts with,” the complaint reads.
“I have been in public service for over 40 years. With the publication of such fake news, my reputation as an honest citizen has been affected. The programme was aimed at destroying the support I have in my constituency (Sarvanga Nagar),” George added.
The court has asked Minister KJ George to submit his sworn statement on August 19.
Editorial Note: While defamation is a serious concern, TNM does not support the filing of criminal defamation suits for any reason. The issues can be dealt with civil cases, and filing criminal defamation only leads to a clamping down on freedom of expression.