news Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | February 21, 2015 | 4.53 pm IST Follow @anisha_w In what is possibly a first, a Kannada news channel is being sued for damages to the tune of Rs 100 crore in defamation case. Congress MLA Priya Krishna has filed a civil defamation suit demanding damages worth Rs 100 crores against a Kannada news channel for a report it telecast in December last. Incidentally, the MLA has also set a record by depositing a court fee of Rs 52 lakh in a Bengaluru court, in a possible indication that he is serious about seeing the case through. Senior journalists who worked in the Kannada media for several decades say that it even a case of Rs 1 crore is unheard of against the mainstream media, adding that such an amount was “out of our (Kannada media) league”. Govindrajnagar MLA Priya Krishna, whose family runs a real estate business has approached a Bengaluru court with a civil defamation suit against Kannada news channel BTV which was launched just last year. Priya Krishna He said that he had filed the case with a Bengaluru court on January 20 and that the next hearing was on March 5. Asked why he had lodged the case, Priya Krishna said that he would not like to comment as the case was in court.  Sources told The News Minute that the case related to a story first telecast by the channel on December 7, and for two consecutive days after that, about land irregularities in Mysuru alleged involving Priya Krishna and his father popularly known as Layout Krishnappa. However, there is no FIR in this regard against either Priya Krishna or his father.  Mysuru district Congress media coordinator Seetaram told The News Minute that on December 7, some people turned up at a community cemetery belonging to the Bhovi community in the Kuvempunagar area of the city and began leveling the land and cutting down trees. Members of the community turned up at the sight and so did officials from the Department of Forests.  “They began to damage the graves of our elders. So we asked them what they were doing and they claimed that the land was theirs. They showed us an RTC (Rights, Tenancy and Crops certificate), and said it was their land, but it wasn’t. The land adjoining the cemetery was theirs, but not the cemetery itself. Then the Forest officials came and registered a case,” said Seetaram, Mysuru district Congress media coordinator and member of the Bhovi community. They lodged a complaint against one Somashekar, on allegations that trees belonging to the forest department had been cut down.  Senior officials at BTV, said on condition of anonymity, that nothing had been officially communicated to them and that the question should be asked to the people who had supposedly lodged the case against the channel. Other sources however, confirmed that representatives of the company were indeed appearing in court and that the case would be fought legally.  Some of the cases in which the media or private individuals have been sued for Rs 100 crore include Times Now, against whom former Supreme Coourt judge P B Sawant had lodged a case, and authors of Gas Wars who were collectively served a legal notice by Reliance Industries Limited, suing them for Rs 100 (the case has not proceeded further). Tweet  Follow @thenewsminute
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