A “kaalpnik kahaani” by anchor Sudhir Chaudhary has got real. The Indian Youth Congress has sent a legal notice to Aaj Tak and its anchor Chaudhary for allegedly defaming party leader Rahul Gandhi in a segment featuring the “imaginary story” on primetime show Black and White last week.
The notice states that civil and criminal proceedings will be initiated against the channel and the anchor unless they delete the video from all platforms, telecast an unconditional apology from the channel, and post it on Twitter.
The video was available on YouTube when this report was published.
“You have deliberately and maliciously compared Mr Rahul Gandhi with someone accused and caught for an offence of robbery even though you are fully aware that Mr Gandhi has been raising his objections to the offence committed by Nirav Modi and is seeking accountability from the Government of India,” read the notice issued through advocate Kapil Madan of the IYC’s legal cell.
The notice referred to remarks made by the anchor on his show Black and White on March 24, hours after Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as an MP following his conviction in a defamation case. It points to what “appears to be a well-crafted conspiracy initiated at the behest of Mr Gandhi’s political opponent”.
Gandhi was convicted in a case filed by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi for saying “how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” The Wayanad MP had made these remarks at a rally in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls while hitting out at the Narendra Modi government over corporate frauds and fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to criticise Gandhi’s remarks on his show, Chaudhary cited a “kaalpnik kahaani”, an imaginary story, to ask whether the MP’s crimes can be reduced by pointing to offences committed by others. The anchor’s story mentioned a criminal caught by the police after robbing people on the highway. As the robbed cash is seized, the anchor narrated, this “small-time offender says there are criminals bigger than him such as Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Mehul Choksi”. “Why are the police not going after them before him? And if the police can’t arrest them, why is it arresting the small-time criminals?”
Chaudhary said crimes can’t be reduced by listing other crimes but “the Congress party is doing the same”. He said there is a people’s court beyond the legal court where a different set of arguments have to be made.
In the show, the anchor pointed to a “victim card” being played over the disqualification of Gandhi despite four MPs and 31 MLAs being disqualified under similar provisions under the UPA tenure. He also listed out how the government is pitching the remarks as anti-OBC as it had categorised the Modi community as one. Chaudhary also referred to the unconditional apology submitted by Gandhi over his “chowkidar chor hai” jibe.
After Youth Congress president BV Srinivas shared the notice on Twitter, Chaudhary wrote, “I am fighting for the voice of India. I am ready to pay any price.”