Jayalalithaa estate theft: Journalist moves Madras HC, seeks to quash FIR against him and six others
Mathew Samuel said the police had booked him under Section 153A, but that does not apply to the case.
Narada News Chief Executive Officer Mathew Samuel moved the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking it to direct the Tamil Nadu police to quash an FIR filed against him and six others over a video clip related to the Kodanadu estate break-in case.
The court had on Wednesday restrained the seven accused from making any statements linking Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami to the 2017 robbery attempt. Palaniswami had filed a defamation suit against Samuel days after he released a documentary linking him with the break-in at the former chief minister’s estate.
Unidentified men had killed a security guard during the robbery attempt at the Kodanadu estate four months after Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016. Two months later, an accountant working at the estate was found dead at his house in Kotagiri.
On January 11, Samuel released a video of his interview with two accused persons in the case, KV Sayan and Valayar Manoj, who claimed that Palaniswami was linked to the robbery. The chief minister has denied any links with the robbery attempt. Palaniswami sought Rs 1.1 crore in damages from Samuel, a former managing editor of Tehelka magazine.
In his petition to the court on Thursday, Samuel said the police had booked him under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups), among other sections, PTI reported. He said this section could not be applied because nothing in the documentary or his January 11 press conference contained any statement made on the grounds of religion, race or place of birth, to constitute an offence under Section 153A.
Samuel also wanted the court to stay the proceedings of the FIR until the case is disposed off.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition for an independent inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the Kodanadu case, The Hindu reported.
“This is not a fit case for admission,” a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna told the petitioner, KR Ramaswamy, also known as “Traffic” Ramaswamy. “How can you file such a petition based on what this person... What is his name? Mathew Samuel... on the basis of what he told the media? You want an inquiry against the chief minister of a state on the basis of what this person said?”
Ramaswamy had said that the murder of Jayalalithaa’s driver and security guard during the break-in is a “rarest of rare case, politically motivated”, and that the persons involved in the murder are people were great influence. “Free and fair investigation of a crime against society is a fundamental right of every citizen,” the petition said.