The controversy over Spanish writer Javier Moro's book ‘The Red Saree,' a fictionalised account of the life of Sonia Gandhi, is getting murkier with the author threatening to sue her counsel Abhishek Singhvi.
The book, which was first published in Spanish with the title ‘El Sari Rojo' in 2008 and is set for India release, has stirred a storm with the Congress chief's lawyers describing it as containing “untruths, half truths, falsehoods and defamatory statements” and served Mr. Moro with a legal notice.
Claiming that Mr. Singhvi was “terrorising the publishers,” Mr. Moro said, “I don't know how Abhishek Manu Singhvi or others got their hands on the version when the book is not even in the market yet. He has got a version [of the book] in an illicit manner. I plan to sue him.”
“My book is on the glory of the Gandhi family. It defends the ideals of the Gandhi family. These ideals I myself defend,” Mr. Moro told PTI over phone from Madrid.
“I have said that the lawyer Abhishek Singhvi is terrorising the publishers that does not mean that the Congress party is censoring me. It has nothing to do with the Congress party itself.
“I think nobody in the Congress has read the book. They are taking lines out of context and manipulating the text... All this has led to a ridiculous and absurd controversy,” the author said.
Maintaining that the legal notice was issued to Mr. Moro almost six months ago Mr. Singhvi said, “Moro's comments would be comic if they were not tragic. He does not seem to understand the ABC of law or practice. I am barely the legal adviser, who had settled the legal notice, which is specifically issued on the behalf of the Congress president. Is Mr. Moro naive or ignorant in not realising that the book is on Congress president and the legal notice has also been sent by her and on her behalf.”
Mr. Singhvi, also the Congress spokesman, said, “There is no English language book or any Indian edition. We have merely got a manuscript and we do not propose to oblige Mr. Moro by telling him its source.”
Claiming it to be a fictionalised account of Ms. Gandhi's life, Mr. Moro has reportedly referred to Ms. Gandhi's origin in Italy, her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi and the difficult times she went through after his assassination.
Claiming that he did not need any approval to publish his book in India, Mr. Moro said, “India is a democratic country which respects freedom of speech. I don't need permission to publish the book. My book is not libellous, I haven't said anything wrong.”
Mr. Moro is no stranger to India and has previously authored several books related to various incidents in the country including ‘Five Past Midnight,' which dealt with the Bhopal tragedy has been co-authored with his uncle, noted writer Dominique Lapierre.