A one-member committee of the Press Council of India will look into the acid attack on a journalist and his family in Maharashtra allegedly because of his reports against illegal sale of gutkha.
PCI chief Markandey Katju has appointed the committee of member Anil Aggarwal to ‘thoroughly investigate’ into the matter and submit a report at the ‘earliest for further Action’. Katju has also asked Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to personally look into the matter.
In his order, the PCI chief said that he had received a letter from PCI member Anil Aggarwal regarding the attack on Dinesh Choudhary, the Parbhani reporter of Dainik Sholapur Tarun Bharat by five persons, which resulted in injuries to him, his wife and daughter.
It is alleged that this attack was because a news item was published in the newspaper about large scale illegal sale of gutkha, which is banned in Maharashtra, Katju said. It was also alleged that for sometime journalists in Maharashtra have been physically attacked by criminals, but no effective action has been taken by the authorities.
Katju said this is a serious violation of the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution which the press council is mandated to protect.
"I, therefore, hereby constitute a one member committee, consisting of Anil Aggarwal, member, Press Council of India, who is requested to thoroughly investigate into the matter and thereafter submit a report to me at the earliest for further action," he said.
He added that the state government functionaries should extend co-operation and support to facilitate this inquiry. "Further the chief minister of Maharashtra and the chief secretary are requested to personally look into the matter with all seriousness and submit a report to me at the earliest, after consulting with Ail Aggarwal," Katju said.