New Delhi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor today urged the Delhi High Court to stop journalist Arnab Goswami and his news channel Republic TV from “misreporting” his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death, saying his “right to be left alone” and “right to silence” must be respected.
The submission was made before Justice Manmohan, who reserved the verdict on Tharoor’s plea seeking to restrain Goswami and his channel from airing any news or debate about the death of Pushkar.
The journalist and the channel, on the other hand, said they had only placed the actual evidence and the police report while broadcasting the news.
The Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha MP has filed an interim application for stopping the channel from broadcasting the incident in the pending Rs two crore civil defamation suit against the TV anchor and Republic TV.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, submitted that the court must direct Goswami and the channel not to mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar”, as it is yet to be established by a competent court that her death was “murder”, and ensure that the trial is not prejudiced.
“Goswami and channel must not involve in rhetorical assertions,” Khurshid contended.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Goswami and the channel, said they have neither “condemned” Tharoor, nor suggested that he was involved in the death of his wife.
The counsel also submitted that the Congress leader was not called “the killer” of his wife by the journalist or the channel, as claimed by Tharoor.
After hearing the arguments of all the parties, the court reserved its order.
Tharoor has filed three different applications through his counsel Gaurav Gupta seeking various directions, including not to make any defamatory publication against him in any manner.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. The matter is still under investigation.
Tharoor had on May 26 this year filed the civil defamation suit against Goswami and Republic TV in the High Court.
He had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to the death of his wife till the investigation is completed by the Delhi Police.
Tharoor has referred to the broadcasting of news items from May 8 to 13 when the TV channel claimed to have aired an expose connected to the death of his wife.
The politician has alleged that despite assurances given in the court on May 29 by the counsel for Goswami and Republic TV, they were engaged in “defaming and maligning” him.
The court had on May 29 said the journalist and his news channel could put out stories stating facts related to the investigation of Pushkar’s death, but could not call the Lok Sabha MP a “criminal”. It had also told their counsel to reduce the rhetoric.
Goswami and the channel had in their affidavit said that they have abided by the court’s direction and in “no manner misreported or misled the viewers as the facts were correctly reported”.
They have also claimed that the suit has been “instituted with an oblique and ulterior motive and is a misguided attempt to muzzle a media channel and the dissemination of true facts to the public”.