Railgate case: HC notice to media houses on plea for gag order

Railgate case: HC notice to media houses on plea for gag order

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response from various media houses on a plea by two railgate accused seeking to restrain press from reporting the case.

Issuing notices to some newspapers and television channels, Justice V K Jain today sought their response by August 26 on a joint plea of suspended railway board member Mahesh Kumar and co-accused Sandeep Goyal seeking for a gag order against media which they alleged had launched "a continuous, malicious and defamatory" campaign against them.

In their plea they said the media should be restrained from reporting "telephonic transcripts/CDs, identity and statement of the witnesses" and other documents, including identity of the accused in news channels, news articles and websites in connection with the CBI case lodged against them.

Contending that they are being subjected to a media trial which violates their fundamental right, the accused sought a ban on reporting of the case since it is sub-judice.

The petition, filed through advocate Gaurang Kanth, accuses the media of "a continuous, malicious and defamatory" campaign by publishing and telecasting the alleged telephonic conversations, details of the accused and statements of the witnesses, which forms an integral part of documents submitted by the CBI in court.

"The respondents by way of various media reports, articles, debates and interviews have published and telecast the alleged phone transcripts, witness statements in their respective newspapers and TV/news channels and had in fact conclusively labelled the petitioners as guilty, corrupt and bribe takers before the public at large even before the trial," their plea said.

CBI has filed chargesheet against 10 persons including the nephew of former Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who has been named as a witness, in the Rs 10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case.

According to CBI, former minister's nephew Vijay Singla had demanded Rs 10 crore from then Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mahesh Kumar for his appointment as Member (Electrical).

The agency said it was decided between the accused that Rs five crore will be paid before the appointment and the rest of the money will be paid after the job was done.

PTI

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