Kerala MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has sent a legal notice against Kairali TV for airing ‘false claims’ about him in connection with the controversial gold smuggling case.
The legal notice has been addressed to the news bureau in Thiruvananthapuram and a reporter of Kairali TV, asking to recall the ‘defamatory statements’ published on Kairali Online, the official Facebook page of Kairali TV and from all social media platforms. The notice also asks the channel to publish an apology for publishing defamatory statements against Shashi Tharoor.
Shashi Tharoor tweeted that the channel has broadcast false claims alleging he is associated with a principal accused in the case. TNM was told that the petition says Kairali TV's website had alleged that Tharoor had recommended Swapna for a job. Tharoor has also said in his legal notice that the media group has constantly targeted him.
Kairali TV, is believed to be closely associated with CPI(M), which leads the LDF government in the state, and has its board of directors chaired by popular actor Mammootty.
“My lawyer has sent a six-page formal notice to the CPI(M)Kerala TV channel for inventing & broadcasting false claims about my alleged association with the principal suspect, who was a complete stranger to me. I've had enough of being vilified for political reasons,” Tharoor tweeted.
My lawyer has sent a 6-page formal notice to the @CPIMKerala TV channel for inventing & broadcasting false claims about my alleged association with the principal suspect, who was a complete stranger to me. I've had enough of being vilified for political reasons. [Pg.1&6 attached] pic.twitter.com/CkW9adEfn6— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 9, 2020
In the legal notice, he also states that if the channel takes down the statements against him and apologises, they would not have to face criminal litigation.
“If yourselves oblige with the demands of this notice and withdraw the false, untrue and defamatory imputations and publish unconditional apology..yourselves may thereby avoid consequences of litigation which will be commenced in both civil and criminal lines..”
The gold smuggling case, where 30 kg gold worth crores was seized from diplomatic baggage in Trivandrum International Airport, has snowballed into a political controversy in Kerala, with the opposition party Congress and BJP hitting out against the Chief Minister’s Office and other top officials in the government.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s Principal Secretary M Sivasankar IAS, who was also the IT Department Secretary, was removed from the posts following allegations of his associations with one of the accused.