Congress MP Manish Tewari found himself embroiled in a bitter Twitter spat with former colleague and Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP, Priyanka Chaturvedi, over the former’s praise for ‘brilliant & mercurial’ journalist Tarun Tejpal. Angered by Chaturvedi’s objection to his original tweet, that praised veteran journalist Tejpal, Tewari even threatened to file a defamation case against the Shiv Sena MP.
The tweet that appeared to irk Chaturvedi read, “My college Senior the much maligned, hugely politically persecuted &now honourably exonerated the brilliant & mercurial Tarun Tejpal has written this teaser of his new book Animal Farm Tarun at his evocative & provocative best. Welcome back friend. Do Read.”
Taking a dim view of Tewari’s tweet, Chaturvedi tweeted, “Today I got to know that Tarun Tejpal was ‘honorably exonerated’ and ‘politically persecuted’. To rubbish a woman’s sexual assault by this cosy club, smacks of their sick mindset. They believe they can behave as they wish around women and laugh off the serious crime. Shameful.”
Tewari replied, “Unlike you @priyankac19 as a lawyer I know how to read a judgment and respect it. Tarun Tejpal was tried and found innocent. That is the cold hard fact.Goa Government has gone to High Court.If you have a problem say what you have too in the High Court of Mumbai & Goa.”
Reacting to Tewari’s tweet, Chaturvedi wrote, “Unlike you @manishtewari just being a lawyer and ability to read a judgement does not put you on a higher plain. Also this is a free platform I have a right to opinion as much as you have a right to pat the back of an alleged rapist.”
Not impressed by Chaturvedi’s last sentence, the Congress MP, also a Supreme Court lawyer, threatened to file a defamation case against her. He wrote, “It actually does @priyankac19. It makes me acutely conscious about respecting rule of law & judgments delivered by Courts established under our Constitution. Please do not cross the line of libel & defamation.I would be anguished to take a fellow MP & former Colleague to Court.”
Chaturvedi wrote, “Ooh! Threat to silence. Typical. As a lawyer should realise my first tweet wasn’t even tagged or marked to you, you chose to jump in and I responded in kind.”
Tewari reminded his former Congress colleague, “Ignorance of the law is bliss ain’t it @priyankac19 . The law of libel recognises a slur by implication also Mam.”
The spat continued as Chaturvedi shot back, “Ignorance of law is better than ignorance of morality. For the former one can has lawyers, the latter unfortunately can’t be taught, is ingrained. EOD, refuse to engage.”
This prompted Tewari to dig out an old tweet of Chaturvedi, who had wished Me Too accused Suhel Seth on his birthday this year by writing, “Happy Birthday @Suhelseth. Wishing you health, happiness and success always.” Taking a potshot at Chaturvedi’s ‘morality’ jibe, Tewari wrote, “Do I recall something or I do not ?” He added, “n the Court of the Gods of Morality I rest my case my Lord …..”
Tarun Tejpal was acquitted by a Goa court in a rape case in May this year.