The Andhra Pradesh High Court has restrained a television news channel from telecasting a news story showing visuals of an elderly person, who was alleged to be Governor Narayan Dutt Tiwari, in a compromising position with three women in the Raj Bhavan.
Before police could serve the High Court’s order, ABN channel aired the programme in which explicit scenes were telecast. It stopped repeat telecast of the visuals but continued interviews and panel discussions about the Governor’s conduct. A legal notice was served on the channel by the Governor’s counsel stating that this constituted flagrant violation of the earlier order.
In a press note issued on Friday, the Raj Bhavan asserted that the “alleged news story is nothing but a tissue of lies and is denied. Mr. Tiwari is 86-years-old and in the evening of his life. The office of Governor is constantly under public scrutiny and entirely above board… The Governor … will continue to discharge his constitutional duties as enjoined without fear and favour. It is sad and unfortunate that constitutional functionaries are dragged into needless controversy with utter disregard to propriety.”
Earlier, a Division Bench was constituted by Chief Justice A. R. Dave at his residence (as Friday was a holiday on account of Christmas) on a public interest litigation filed by the Governor’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Aryandra Sharma. The Bench directed the channel to refrain from undertaking any telecast as announced in the Andhra Jyothi daily on Friday. However, the Press Secretary to the Governor issued letters to newspaper editors requesting them to refrain from publishing, broadcasting and telecasting any news story on the matter and threatening “similar [legal] action” against any newspaper or channel “which violates the above.”
Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu said Mr. Tiwari must resign or be sacked by the Centre. He wanted the Centre to order a CBI inquiry into the alleged involvement of some MPs besides the Governor in the “big scandal” in the Hyderabad Raj Bhavan. For a person who was Chief Minister for nine years and in public life for 30 years, the incident showed how values and ethics have come down, Mr. Naidu commented. “Everybody should be ashamed of such incidents.”
Dismiss Governor: Left
CPI State secretary K. Narayana sent a letter to President Pratibha Patil demanding recall of the Governor. The State committee of the CPI(M) demanded the dismissal of the Governor.
A heavy police presence was ordered outside the Raj Bhavan in anticipation of protests by women’s organisations. Effigies of Mr. Tiwari were burnt and protest rallies taken out by some political parties in several places in East Godavari district.