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CBI chief sends notice to daily

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 26, 2003 01:50 IST

Central Bureau of Investigation Director P C Sharma has sent a legal notice to Hindi daily Punjab Kesari, which is printed from Delhi and Jallandhar, for allegedly carrying a defamatory article against him.

Maninder Singh, advocate, Supreme Court, served the notice under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code to the Publisher and Editor of the daily, Vijay Kumar, and the columnist who had written the article, G S Chawla.

"That on 21.7.2003 my client (P C Sharma) noticed a news item in the name of abovementioned noticee no 2 (G S Chawla) in the daily edition of your Hindi newspaper Punjab Kesari published under the caption Bhajapa Netaon Ke Bachav Ki CBI Karyavai Gair Kanooni (Illegal action of CBI to save BJP leaders)," the notice said.

"The leaders of opposition feel that in this case (Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand) Advani and others have colluded with CBI Director P C Sharma. According to the report received from the BJP circles, P C Sharma is retiring from the post of director, CBI, in December. It is said that after his retirement he will be appointed lieutenant governor in Delhi in place of Vijai Kapur," Chawla had written in his piece.

Maninder Singh, in his five-page notice, said it was a baseless attack.

"That not only the abovementioned personal insinuations are false… but it is absolutely baseless and defamatory when it has been contended in the report that my client is helping the BJP leaders and has thus omitted the charge of criminal conspiracy in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in the court of Rae Bareli on a quid-pro-quo basis for personal gains…" the notice said.

He threatened to take action against the newspaper in case it did not issue a front-page apology.

When contacted, an official of the Punjab Kesari management said they were astonished to hear about the threat, particularly when the paper had printed P C Sharma's version on July 22.

"There is no question of tendering the report. We stand by our report and if necessary would face the legal action," the official said.

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