Republic TV has filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court against Times Now anchor Navika Kumar over her claims on the leaked purported Whatsapp chats between Arnab Goswami and BARC’s former CEO Partha Dasgupta.
The network claimed that even before the trial started on the TRP scam case, Kumar anchored a prime time show on January 18 against the channel and Goswami, its editor-in-chief.
The petition filed before the chief metropolitan magistrate, Patiala House, that the network has been the target of a vicious, vindictive and malice driven exercise by the Maharashtra government as a part of a planned scheme, and Kumar has taken advantage of this to further her own corporate interests.
In its plea, the network stated that since the matter will be decided in accordance with the law, no third-party interloper can be permitted to preempt the process of law. "Two chargesheets have already filed but the investigation is still ongoing. The trial has not yet begun, and the complainant company is factually innocent and also presumed innocent until proven guilty,” the network claimed.
The leaked chats are part of a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police in the TRP scam. The chats purportedly show Goswami and Dasgupta discussing politicians, journalists, news networks, and the TRP system.
Goswami is with the former CEO of BARC, the industry body tasked with measuring TRPs. Dasgupta is currently in jail in connection with the TRP case.
The network has alleged in the complaint that Kumar is "jealous" and lacks the ability to "match the success of RepublicTV", . It further claimed that in her show, Kumar made “rabid and unfounded claims”, accusing Goswami of “endangering national security and leaking state secrets”.
“This is not only an utter fabrication of facts and an outright falsehood but is also a defamatory statement made to a large universal audience in order to prejudice their mind, eclipse them from true facts and influence them through the wholly misleading broadcast,” the network said in its complaint.
“By misusing, misconstruing, and distorting the documents from the Mumbai Police’s chargesheet in the TRP scam, mainly the Whatsapp chats….the accused person has gone on a reckless spree to spew grossly defamatory material...that has been telecast, published, circulated, and disseminated on the channel as well as...on Youtube,” it added.
This comes after the network had Times Now for its TRP scam coverage, accusing it of plotting with the “Lutyens’ cartel”, Congress party, and Pakistan for “commercial gain and vengeance”.