NEW DELHI: Zee Media Corporation Ltd has filed a criminal defamation case against Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra for calling its 'chor' (thief) and a paid news channel. The case against the TMC lawmaker has been filed by Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary.
The matter was listed for hearing on Friday in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared on behalf of the complainant, played a video of Moitra before the court wherein she was seen calling Zee News as ‘chor’ and ‘paid news’. Aggarwal told the court that Moitra had called the owner of the Zee News a 'thief' and those associated with the channel as ‘uneducated’ and ‘budbak’ (stupid).
The next hearing of the matter is scheduled to be held on August 1.
It may be recalled that TMC lawmaker Mahua Moitra had filed a criminal complaint for defamation at the Patiala House Court against Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on July 8, 2019 for falsely accusing her of plagiarism in her maiden speech at the Parliament.
She had alleged that Chaudhary claimed that her maiden speech in the Parliament in which she had listed out seven signs of approaching Fascism in the country, was plagiarised. Moitra had become the darling of the ‘Liberal Left’ after she delivered the speech.
Before that, she had submitted a breach of privilege motion against Chaudhary on July 4 alleging that he had falsely reported that her maiden speech in the Parliament was plagiarised. However, the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla did not accept the breach of privilege motion submitted by Moitra.
In response to her complaint, the Zee News Editor-in-Chief filed a criminal defamation case against the TMC MP through his counsel Vijay Aggarwal and Ayush Jindal under Section 340 of CrPC R/w Section 195 CrPC (perjury) on the ground that the complaint filed by Mahua Moitra is based on falsehood/concealment of relevant material information from the court.
In the event of the court deciding to move forward with the Zee Media complaint in which various sections from the Indian Penal Code are invoked, then after trial, Mahua Moitra can be convicted for a term of upto 7 years imprisonment.
In his complaint, Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary has alleged that
(a) Mahua Moitra has wilfully concealed that a breach of privilege motion is pending for consideration before the Parliament;
(b) the statements made by Mahua Moitra in the past also have had a striking resemblance to the statements made by others, ie, on one occasion, the TMC MP in a talk show with a leading journalist narrated a story as her own experience, which story had a striking resemblance to a joke narrated by a stand up comedian Kunal Kamra;
(c) Mahua Moitra has claimed that the 7 signs were taken by her from a poster put up on the main lobby at the united states holocaust memorial museum in 2017, however, as per reports, no such poster was put up at the main lobby of the said museum;
(d) Mahua Moitra has failed to identify the author of the signs in her speech at the beginning of her speech which was done during her speech while citing other authors of poems and quotations
(e) Mahua Moitra has played fraud upon this court by concealing that her entire speech was aired by the applicant on 04.07.2019 at the same prime time hour, giving her entire version.