In a rare instance of the Union government prosecuting a newspaper for defamation, a case has been filed on behalf of the Finance Ministry against the editor, printer and publisher of Tamil daily Dinamani for publishing an allegedly defamatory article.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes, under the Union Finance Ministry’s Department of Revenue, has filed the complaint against R.K. Jhunjhunwala, Printer and Publisher, and K. Vaidyanathan, Editor of Dinamani.
The complaint said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was aggrieved by the item, which insinuated that income tax searches on SRM group of educational institutions had taken place under the Minister’s dictates.
K. Ramasamy, Senior Public Prosecutor, who represented the Ministry, presented the complaint before the Principal Sessions Judge G.Chockalingam on Tuesday. After perusing the complaint and documents, Mr.Chockalingam took the complaint on file and ordered that summons be issued to the two accused asking them to appear on November 1.
The complaint described the item, published on June 20 under the caption ‘Meesai Munusamy’, was false and slanderous and it maligned Mr. Chidambaram in regard to his discharge of his public functions. It also projected the Central government and the Income Tax department in poor light.
According to the complaint, on the basis of information gathered regarding evasion of tax by certain persons, including SRM Educational Institutions, searches were conducted various places on June 18. The searches led to the seizure of incriminating material relating to tax evasion.