According to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s complaint, Goswami allegedly accessed confidential documents that were part of the investigation report and the internal notings of police records in connection with the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
New Delhi: A Delhi court ordered the police to register a First Information Report against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami after Congress leader Shashi Tharoor filed a complaint against him alleging theft of confidential documents pertaining to the probe into his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death.
According to Tharoor’s complaint, Goswami allegedly accessed confidential documents that were part of the investigation report and the internal notings of police records in connection with the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Tharoor claimed that it is impermissible to share probe details with the public or the media during an ongoing investigation.
Tharoor’s complaint adds that Goswami’s news channel deliberately made defamatory remarks against him “in an attempt to increase the viewership”. The channel allegedly also accessed Tharoor’s emails without his consent.
Metropolitan magistrate Dharmender Singh, in his January 21 order that was uploaded on Friday, directed the station house officer (SHO) concerned to lodge the FIR and investigate the matter which required probe, as it is not clear that how the material came in the possession of the accused party, The Wire reported.
“This court is of the considered view that in view of allegations levelled by Tharoor and material produced on record in the form of Right to Information (RTI) replies and other material, matter discloses commission of cognizable offence and in view of this court, matter requires investigation by police as it is not clear that how said material came in the possession of proposed accused persons,” the order said.
“This court is of the further view that number of persons are to be examined in this matter. In these circumstances, SHO concerned is directed to register FIR in this matter and investigate the same as per law,” the court said and posted the matter for further hearing on April 4.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Tharoor, told the court that during the investigation of the death case, police collected a number of items/materials of the deceased and recorded statements of the complainant and one of his aides Narain Singh. All those documents and materials were part of a confidential record and had been within the sole possession of the investigation team.
The Patiala House Court observed that Tharoor has already initiated legal action against Goswami and Republic TV in the Delhi High Court for alleged defamation, PTI reported. Last month, the Kerala High Court had stayed proceedings in a criminal defamation case filed by Tharoor against Goswami.
“Despite the Right to Information Act and the general presumption that information ought to make its way to the public, the Indian state and investigating agencies, in particular, are dead set against transparency, preferring instead to offer up targeted leaks. That leaves journalists no choice but to develop official sources that will help uncover otherwise secret information that is in public interest. While Goswami’s critics may be happy at the thought of him facing legal action, the order should nevertheless alarm any well-meaning citizen since it could easily prompt the police to investigate any journalists who have got their hands on information held by the state,” a report by Scroll said.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel as their home was being renovated at that time.