Mumbai: Indian Army's surgical strikes conducted on 29 September this year across the Line of Control are long over but the after-effects of the military action are still on albeit outside the battlefield.
This time around Nationalist Congress Party MLA from Maharashtra's Kalwa-Mumbra constituency Jitendra Awhad has sent a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Times Now editor–in-chief Arnab Goswami among others for allegedly using "uncivilized" and "uncouth" language on The Newshour Debate programme.
The debate was aired at 9 pm on 6 October to discuss Rahul Gandhi Crossed The Line With 'Khoon Ki Dalali' Comment.
Accusing Goswami of "casting wild and baseless aspersions" "which have severely harmed my client's (Jitendra Awhad) impeccable reputation" and blaming the channel of starting a "hate campaign" against Ahwad, the notice sought the channel "withdraw the defamatory statements."
The notice sent by Ahwad through his lawyer Prashant B Kadam asked Goswami and others mentioned to "tender unconditional apology on your programme 'The Newshour Debate' telecast live on Times Now as well as on your website, within 7 days from the receipt of this notice" failing which a suit for damages amounting Rs 100 crore would be filed in a court of law. Firstpost has a copy of the notice.
Apart from Goswami, the notice was also sent to Times Now bureau chief Megha Prasad, Times Now chief executive officer Avinash Kaul, Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd chief executive officer Sunil Lulla and to Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
Claiming that Awhad "is a prominent citizen of Thane, having been in public life for more than two decades", the notice said that Goswami, who anchored the debate "unleashed verbal deluge of accusations... without any reason" on the legislator during the course of the discussion.
Awhad through his lawyer said that despite being invited to participate in the live television show, he was not given the chance to respond to a query on a certain comment made by NCP chief Sharad Pawar on the surgical strikes.
"... my client (Jitendra Awhad) was ready and eager to give appropriate answer to your question but even before my client (Jitendra Awhad) could respond and reply, you no. 1 (Arnab Goswami) cut short my client...," the notice said.
The notice said that Goswami "had some sort of preconceived grudge against my client (Jitendra Awhad) therefore you (Arnab Goswami) chose to forbid my client (Jitendra Awhad) from speaking his views and instead attempted to intimidate by hurling accusations and abusive words at my client (Jitendra Awhad)."
Talking to Firstpost, Awhad said, "Arnab is a liar. He never allows others to speak. How can he always insult the guest who he asks to come for his show? He has repeatedly insulted people hiding under the banner of the Times group. He always shows that he is right and all others are wrong. Arnab has always insulted the guest and so in order to teach him a lesson I have sent him a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against him and the channel too. He abused me in his live show. I will not let this issue down. How can Arnab throw labels on me like 'uncouth' and 'uncivilized'? Does he have the authority to do this?"
Speaking from Jantar Mantar in Delhi on 6 October, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "playing with the blood of soldiers", in reference to the Indian Army’s 29 September surgical strikes.
While referring to the surgical strikes, he said that "humare jawan hai jinhone khoon diya hai, jinhone surgical strikes kiya, unke khoon ke peeche aap (Modi) chuppe huye hai (Our soldiers conducted surgical strikes and gave their blood. Modi is just hiding behind their sacrifices)," he said. "Unki aap dalali kar rahe ho (You are brokering them)," Gandhi added, while telling Modi that the Indian Army has done its work and he should do his.