The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday directed the city police not to harass S. Balasubramanian (75), Chairman Emeritus of Tamil weekly ‘Junior Vikatan,' its Managing Director S. Srinivasan (41), Editor K. Ashokan (43), Deputy Chief Reporter Era. Saravanan (32) and Magazine Editor Kl. Shanmugasundaram (43) in the guise of conducting enquiry in connection with a news item published against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam functionary N. Suresh Babu.

Justice R. Mala passed the order while disposing of individual anticipatory bail applications filed by them apprehending arrest. The judge also recorded the submission made by a Government Advocate (criminal side) that no case or petition was pending against them in this regard.

The petitions, containing identical averments, stated that Mr. Suresh Babu had sent a legal notice to the weekly on August 8. The management intended to send a proper reply.

In the meantime, several posters appeared all over Madurai city threatening the management and staff of the weekly with dire consequences.

The posters alleged that the weekly was indulging in blackmail journalism and published a false news item with the intention of extracting money.

“‘Junior Vikatan' is merely discharging its role as a watchdog. If anybody feels aggrieved about any publication made in the weekly, it is always open to them to take recourse to such measures that are available to them in law. Instead of doing so, the aggrieved individual appears to have given a false complaint to the police (Central Crime Branch, Madurai) as if money was demanded,” the petitioners stated, and sought to enlarge them on bail in the event of their arrest.

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