Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Param Bir Singh withdraws defamation suit against journalist Arnab Goswami

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh on Wednesday withdrew a defamation suit filed against TV journalist Arnab Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd which owns Republic TV.
While allowing the withdrawal request, additional sessions judge V D Kedar imposed a nominal cost of Rs 1,500 on Singh, who has now retired, to be paid to Goswami.
“It is not in dispute that due to the filing of the suit the defendant has to engage an advocate. I feel cost needs to be imposed for withdrawal of the suit unconditionally,” the judge said. Singh filed a defamation suit in 2021 against Goswami and the owners of the Republic TV newschannel, seeking damages of Rs 90,00,000.
In October 2020, Goswami made several “false and defamatory” statements on his news show on Republic TV in relation to the alleged TRP (Television Rating Points) rigging scam which Mumbai Police were probing, Singh claimed in his suit.
The “tone and tenor” of the show implied that Singh was driven by “malice and vendetta” and it falsely claimed that Singh was abusing his official position by “harassing”, intimidating and victimizing Goswami, the plea added.
In his reply to the suit, Goswami and ARG Outlier said the suit was not maintainable as Singh was no longer the Mumbai police commissioner.
Singh was also facing grave allegations, and the entire investigation of the alleged TRP scam, conducted at the behest of Singh and “political dispensation” of that time, was “tainted and harbored malice”, Goswami’s reply claimed.
An eight-page letter written by Singh to (then) Chief Minister of Maharashtra on March 20, 2021 admitted that investigations were being guided in political directions, the reply said.
When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, Singh’s lawyer moved an application seeking to withdraw the suit.
Advocate Pradeep Gandhy, appearing for Goswami, said they had no objection but it should not be “misconstrued that we have settled the matter out of court,” he said.
“I have been put to immense torture therefore I am praying for costs,” Gandhy said.
Mumbai Police in 2020 probed an alleged racket where some TV channels were accused of manipulating and inflating their TRP.
Singh was shunted out from the post of Mumbai top cop in March 2021 when police officer Sachin Waze was arrested in connection with the recovery of an SUV with explosives near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house.
Subsequently, Singh, in a letter to then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleged (then) home minister Anil Deshmukh had asked police in Mumbai to collect Rs 100 crore a month from bars and restaurants. Deshmukh denied the allegations but soon stepped down from his post.

Must Read