Mumbai: Popular Islamic Preacher, Televangelist and an expert on comparative religion Dr. Zakir Naik has filed a Rs 500 crore defamation suit against Arnab Goswami, Editor–in-Chief Times Now, for running a ‘Hate Campaign’ and ‘Media Trial’ against him.
Others named in the 18-page legal notice sent by Advocate Mubin Solkar on July 16, 2016 are Megha Prasad Bureau Chief TimesNow, Avinash Kaul Chief Executive Officer, TimesNow, Sunil Lulla Chief Executive Officer, Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd. and Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd.
"We have sent a legal notice to Arnab Goswami and others in TimesNow. We will be sending similar notice very soon to other media houses that indulged in hate campaign against Dr. Naik", Solkar said while talking to local media today morning.
Solkar also said after sending the notice he will now try to fulfill all legal requirements as early as possible so that those named in the notice are booked, and appropriate civil and criminal proceedings are initiated against them.
In the legal notice Dr. Zakir Naik has accused the channel of creating enmity and hatred between religious communities and as well as hurting the religious sentiments of Naik and the Muslim community.
"My client was shocked and surprised to see the television shows being telecast live on TimesNow Channel under the caption “The Newshour Debate” on 6th July, 2016 on the subject “Zakir Naik Responsible for Dhaka Attacks should be STOPPED” and in the “The Newshour Debate” telecasted live on 7th July, 2016 on the subject “Zakir Naik will get away from Political Support” as well as your subsequent shows telecast thereafter wherein the defamatory comments/statements have been made.....
".... the statements damaged the reputation of my client. You have made absolutely false and damaging statements against my client which are per-se defamatory and made with a view to malign and bring disrepute to him", Solkar wrote in the notice.
Listing a series of statements uttered by Arnab Goswami in his TV show, the notice said, "Besides making the aforesaid false, defamatory and damaging insinuations against my client, you have deliberately and with malicious intention of defaming my client and creating enmity and hatred between religious communities, quoted and/ shown only a part of my client’s speeches, that to totally out of context and also some of which were picked up from doctored speeches of my client which are available on You Tube/Internet."
"....... the statements so pronounced and made by you are not only false but also make a scathing remark on my client’s character thereby proving that the sole motive is to defame my client and to malign and lower his reputation in the eyes of general public", the notice said.
Referring to probe ordered against Zakir Naik by the government in Maharashtra and New Delhi, Zaki Naik accused the TimesNow of running a 'media trial' and influencing people with wrong intentions.
"Your television news channel is carrying out a media trial influencing people at large as well as the investigating authorities who are reportedly carrying out a probe under the directions of the Maharashtra Government. My client has till date not received any notice from any such authority and/or from the Government with regard to the said probe", the notice said.
"Without verifying facts and without having any positive and/or cogent evidence in support, you have recklessly and callously, with deliberate and malicious intention made and published on the television the aforesaid false, defamatory and damaging remarks against my client, which have severely harmed my client’s impeccable reputation", the notice said.
""The damage to his reputation caused solely on account of your irresponsible statements has caused grave and irreparable damage to my client's image in the world which cannot be measured in terms of money", the notice said.
"You have intentionally maligned my client’s reputation. You on your television channel have started a hate campaign against my client without having knowledge of the truth which you have deliberately hidden", it added.
Stating that The Daily Star’ the newspaper in Bangladesh, whose story the Indian media had picked up and started a media trial, denied having stated that Zakir Niak had inspired any terrorist to kill innocent people and corrected its report that he was banned by Malaysia, the notice said, "However, you have acted in the most reckless and malicious manner and have continued this defamatory tirade against him."
"By making the defamatory and inflammatory statements you are promoting disharmony and feelings of hatred, enmity and ill-will between different religious groups and thereby destroying the secular fabric of our country.
"Moreover your statements are prejudicial to the maintenance of peace and harmony between different religious communities and they undoubtedly disturb public tranquility", the notice added.