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Rediff.com  » News » Indian Express journos seek Rs 100 cr in damages from Vinod Mehta, Open magazine

Indian Express journos seek Rs 100 cr in damages from Vinod Mehta, Open magazine

Last updated on: May 16, 2012 13:43 IST
Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of the Indian Express group, has sent a legal notice to Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of the Outlook group of publications, and Open magazine's editor and correspondent, seeking Rs 100 crore as damages, for an interview Mehta granted Open's correspondent Hartosh Singh Bal which, Gupta's lawyers said, contained 'defamatory and defamatory imputations'.

Indian Express had, in a report written by Gupta along with correspondents Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta on April 4, 2012, reported on unusual movements by two army units which spooked the government into thinking that a coup attempt was being made, given the tensions between the Army chief Gen VK Singh and the establishment.

The report was immediately refuted by the government.

In a subsequent interview with Open magazine's Hartosh Singh Bal titled 'The Mother of All Mistakes', in which Vinod Mehta spoke about the need for editors and journalists to self-regulate themselves or else the government will do it for them, the interview went on to cover the Indian Express's report, with Mehta stating that the newspaper was 'misled' into publishing the report.

Stating that the interview with Mehta was 'written, published, distributed and uploaded recklessly and without care and caution to harm and damage the reputation' of the journalists, the legal notice asks the interview to be removed from Open magazine's web site, to apologise prominently both in the web site and in the magazine, and to recompense each of the three journalists with Rs 100 crore each as damages.

Mehta, with his characteristic non-chalance, told the Mumbai Mirror: 'What's the fuss, he (Gupta) is perfectly entitled to sue me if he wishes to.'