A court in Jammu and Kashmir has directed controversial Arnab Goswami, the founder of Republic TV, to appear before the court with his colleagues in a criminal defamation case filed by former minister and senior PDP leader, Naeem Akhtar. Chief Judicial Magistrate of Srinagar has ordered Goswami along with Adidtya Raj Kaul, Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil and Sakl Bhatt.
Aditya Raj Kaul is a senior Associate Editor with Republic TV, while Zeenat Zeeshan works for the channel as its Jammu and Kashmir bureau chief.
Akhtar, in his defamation case, had accused Republic TV of broadcasting ‘scandalous’ news content against him. He had pleaded before the court to hold the named Republic TV individuals on trial. The court has directed Goswami and his colleagues to appear before it by 9 February, 2019.
Akhtar, according to local media reports, had filed his defamation case on 16 November against one Molvi Abid Ansari, BJP activist Khalid Jahangir Sheikh and others for accusing him of corruption. Akhtar’s counsel, Jahangir Iqbal Ganai was quoted by KashmirWalla website that Abid Ansari was facing an arrest warrant against him after he failed to turn jup in the court during the last hearing. Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar Aijaz Ahmad Khan had issued a bailable arrest warrant against him for not appearing before the court. Ansari later appeared before the court to submit the bail bonds.
According to Free Press Kashmir, the CJM on the presentation of the compliant, and taking note of the statement made by the complainant supported by statement of a witness, has taken cognisance of the complaint and has directed the accused to appear before the court.
Akhtar, according to the report, has said that the accused should be tried and punished in accordance with the law for the Commission of the offence under section 499 and 500 of RPC.
Goswami had launched Republic TV with the help of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar last year. He has often faced allegations of promoting the BJP’s agenda through his channel.