Khurshid's wife sues TV network over graft charges
19 October 2012
The Delhi High Court today asked TV Today Network, which runs the news channels Headlines Today and Aaj Tak, and 13 others to file a reply after Louise Khurshid, wife of law minister Salman Khurshid, filed a defamation suit against the media group for broadcasting a programme alleging a charitable trust run by them was corrupt.
Louise has sought Rs1 crore in damages. Justice Valmiki J Mehta of the high court issued notices to 14 respondents, including TV Today and its officials, and asked them to file their reply within four weeks. He posted the matter for further hearing on 30 January.
At the same time, it told advocate C S Sundaram, appearing for TV Today, that they must telecast Khurshid's version of the alleged exposure of graft by the TV channels.
The court sought clarification from Louise Khurshid whether the suit was filed in her personal capacity or on behalf of the Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, which is at the centre of the fund-siphoning controversy.
The court also asked for submission of documents related to the case to the joint registrar by 7 January.
Louise Khurshid has filed a suit for "permanent, prohibitory and mandatory injunction and damages" against Aroon Purie, chairman and editor of TV Today, M J Akbar, editorial director of India Today and Headlines Today, and others.
Louise Khurshid also sought an "unconditional apology" in writing and a restraining order on telecasting the story in future.
Court cases are flying thick and fast after Hindi news channel Aaj Tak claimed that the social welfare and empowerment ministry had granted Rs71.50 lakh to the Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust for distributing tricycles and hearing aids to the disabled in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
These funds went into the pockets of the Khurshids, the channel alleged in what was claimed to be a sting operation.
Just a day ago, The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today issued a notice to Aaj Tak asking it to furnish all material relating to the alleged scam in the trust, as a public interest litigation has been by filed social activist Nutan Thakur based on the channel's telecast.
Law minister Khurshid has been in the thick of a controversy ever since Arvind Kejriwal of the India Against Corruption party raised allegations about the trust run by him and his wife.
Activists and journalists trying to investigate the matter first hand were assaulted by a mob in Farrakhpur, Khurshid's constituency in Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday. (See: Journalists, Kejriwal's team assaulted in Khurshid's district)