Jay Shah’s Lawyer Fails to Appear, Court Defers Defamation Matter Against The Wire Till October 16

Judge was told senior advocate S.V. Raju could not be present as he was busy in the high court.

amit shah-jay-shah-PTI

BJP president Amit Shah with son and Jay Shah. Credit: PTI

Ahmedabad: A metropolitan court here today adjourned the hearing of the criminal defamation case filed by BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay against The Wire as the complainant’s advocate was not present in the court.

A lawyer for Jay Shah sought time from additional chief metropolitan magistrate S.K. Gadhvi, saying that senior advocate S.V. Raju could not be present in the court as he was busy in the high court.

The court granted the time and adjourned the hearing to October 16.

Jay Shah had filed a criminal defamation case in a metropolitan court against The Wire on Monday over a report, which claimed his firm Temple Enterprise’s turnover grew exponentially after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.

The magistrate had ordered a court inquiry in the matter under CrPC section 202 (to inquire into the case to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding).

In his application, Shah prayed for “criminal action against the respondents for defaming and tarnishing the reputation of the complainant through an article, which is scandalous, frivolous, misleading, derogatory, libelous and consisting of several defamatory statements”.

The seven respondents in the case are the author of the article, Rohini Singh, founding editors of The Wire, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia and M.K. Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and Foundation for Independent Journalism, a non-profit company that publishes The Wire.

The Wire‘s editors have described the defamation case as an attack on media freedom and said they intend to fight the matter vigorously.

Also read: The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah

The case seeks action against respondents under IPC Sections 500 (defamation), 109 (abetment), 39 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

The court will issue summonses to the respondents only after the initial inquiry establishes a case.

Shah is yet to file a civil defamation suit against the respondents. He had earlier announced that he will also file a Rs 100 crore civil defamation suit.

A political storm has erupted after the article was published.

The Congress has demanded an inquiry into the matter and ouster of Amit Shah, while the BJP called the article defamatory.

(With inputs The Wire Staff)

  • Anjan Basu

    Bluff and bluster, nothing much else! Jay Shah’s counsel fails to turn up in this hugely important ( to the Shah family and to BJP) ‘criminal defamation’ suit. The civil suit is not in sight yet. Did Shah expect The Wire to cave in at the first hint of trouble, as did the celebrated EPW trustees? If he did, he was only deluding himself, for he should have known how The Wire stood up to a few other similarly nefarious attempts at intimidation. I have gone through Rohini Singh’s article over and over again, and although I feel her presentation could have done with some improvement here and there, a charge of defamation is atrocious. Follow-up work on Rohini’s story should focus on (1) the unlikely losses claimed to have been incurred, (2) the status of the wind power project and its revenues/ expenditure, (3) the sources tapped for the repayment of the various loans raised by Temple and Kusum, and (4) why Shah’s businesses folded up so suddenly under circumstances that are far from clear. It was a very timely story put out by The Wire, and it has managed to galvanise the current regime’s critics into action quite dramatically. This is Indian democracy’s Fourth Estate doing signal service to our polity.

  • S.N.Iyer

    The Court’s decision to have an inquiry on whether there is substance to the allegation is itself a victory. We should now wait to see the traction of Amit Shah and the Govt how next to harrass The Wire