Case against weekly for `defaming CM'

CHENNAI DEC. 4 . The Government has initiated a defamation case against the Tamil bi-weekly, Junior Vikatan, for `harming the reputation' of the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, by publishing an article on the appointment P. Shankar as Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

Ms. Jayalalithaa was a true patriot, said the City Public Prosecutor who filed the complaint on her behalf. Rejecting the claim in the article that she had met the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, to stall the appointment of Mr. Shankar, the CPP said. Ms. Jayalalithaa had openly expressed her wish that only a person of Indian origin rule the country.

"Ms. Jayalalithaa never approached Ms. Sonia in this regard even to desist from approving the name of Mr. Shankar, an Indian, for the post of CVC.''

The article, published in the August 28 edition, claimed that Ms. Jayalalithaa had attempted to get Ms. Gandhi to oppose the appointment of Mr. Shankar. It also alleged that Ms. Gandhi did not respond to the Chief Minister's attempts.

Contending that the article had been published out of jealousy and political ill will, the CPP said even when the Prime Minister asked whether she had any objection to the appointment, Ms. Jayalalithaa immediately agreed to the proposal. He sought to punish the editor, S. Balasubramanian, for the article which was `per se defamatory'.

The Principal Sessions Judge, AR. Ramalingam, before whom the complaint had been lodged, posted the matter to December 5.

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