The Delhi High Court Monday summoned BJP parliamentarian Anurag Thakur and his brother Arun Singh Dhumal in a Rs. 3 crore defamation suit filed by an industrialist for linking him and his company with the Himachal Pradesh chief minister.
Justice A.K. Pathak, issuing summons, sought responses from Thakur, Dhumal and nine media organisations by March 3 on the businessman’s plea. The businessman accused them of a “malicious campaign” against his company.
V. Chandrashekhar, CEO of Delhi-based Tarini Group of companies, who has a project in Himachal Pradesh, sought from the accused compensation of Rs.3 crore for allegedly tarnishing his reputation and causing damage to the goodwill of his business.
The media organisations are accused of running slanderous news against Chandrashekhar and his company, linking them with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
“Due to their malicious campaign against his company, the share values have come down, and he has suffered a great deal as some of his foreign clients have sought clarifications regarding the allegations,” the suit said.
The defamation suit said that in October 2013, Anurag Thakur, also vice president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, and his brother Arun Kumar Dhumal, levelled baseless allegations against the Himachal Pradesh chief minister and his family members.
They accused Virbhadra Singh and his family of securing interest-free loan from the Tarini Group of companies, Chandrashekhar said.
He mentioned that the Dhumal brothers, sons of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, have “illegally accessed the bank accounts and illegally procured income tax returns of the M/s Tarini Group of companies, which itself is the violation of fundamental rights (of citizens)”.
Disclosing confidential documents to the public at large constitutes an offence which is punishable in accordance with law, the suit said.
Justice Pathak in his order said: “Issue summons in suit and notice of the application to the defendants. Defendant Nos. 1 (Anurag) and 2 (Arun) accept summons in suit and notice of the application through their counsel. Written statement/reply be filed by defendant Nos. 1 and 2 within three weeks.”
The businessman also asked the court to restrain the media from publishing and/or circulating defamatory news articles against him and his company.