Praful drops defamation case against Bloomsbury

He’ll however pursue the case against former AI executive director Jitendra Bhargava who, in his book, blamed him for the airline’s decline

Updated - May 13, 2016 10:01 am IST

Published - January 17, 2014 05:31 am IST - MUMBAI

Union Minister Praful Patel has dropped his defamation case against Bloomsbury India after the publisher apologised and agreed to withdraw the book The Descent of Air India . The Minister, however, plans to pursue the case against the book’s author, former AI executive director Jitendra Bhargava.

“We withdrew the case against Bloomsbury India Pvt. Ltd. after they reached an out-of-court settlement with Mr. Patel. But we will pursue the defamation case against Mr. Bhargava,” Mr Patel’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde told The Hindu .

The book was critical of several decisions taken by Mr Patel during his time at the helm of the Civil Aviation Ministry, and alleged that these contributed to the airline’s decline. Mr. Patel had retaliated by filing a defamation suit last October against Bloomsbury India and Mr. Bhargava in a court here.

Meanwhile, Bloomsbury India’s public notice withdrawing the book caught Mr. Bhargava by surprise. “It is unfair and unfortunate, not to say unethical to not discuss this with me. The publisher had appointed an editor to go through the book for six months before it was published.”

“If the contents of the book have caused any embarrassment to Mr. Patel, we sincerely regret the same as it was never our intention to discredit him in any manner. We shall immediately withdraw the book from the market and destroy any stock available with us,” the publisher said in the notice.

The book, Mr. Bhargava said, was based on documents and could be substantiated. “Each line can be substantiated beyond an iota of doubt. I said so during the last court hearing on January 6.” He said he would either find another publisher or bring out the book himself. “People have a right to know. This book is in the national interest. I am already working on updating the book.”

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