Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday filed affidavits in a chief judicial magistrate court against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad and PS Sreedharan Pillai for their alleged defamatory statements against him, Manorama Online reported.
“It is time for the lies to stop,” Tharoor said in a tweet. “Fight a clean campaign if you can.”
The first affidavit is in connection with a criminal defamation suit, filed by Tharoor against the Union minister of law and justice in December last year, for calling him an “accused in a case of murder”. Two months earlier, Tharoor had sent Prasad a legal notice and demanded an unconditional apology. Tharoor, who represents Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram in the Lok Sabha, had also called upon Prasad to delete a tweet on the matter along with the video clip of the press conference.
However, Prasad had refused to apologise, saying “there arises no question of any apology or deleting of the tweet”. Referring to his remark, Prasad’s lawyer had argued that the trial in the case of the death of Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar “is ongoing and one cannot predict the outcome of the trial”.
Pushkar was found dead in a New Delhi hotel in January 2014. Tharoor has been charged under sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code for Pushkar’s death. The matter is being heard in a court in Delhi.
Tharoor on Thursday said Prasad had “falsely and without any basis” accused him of being a murder accused and had even refused to withdraw the comments. “So now I have been left with no choice but to go to the court and demand satisfaction because there is no basis, no murder case, in the tragic death of my wife and there is no accused in a murder case, certainly not me,” he said. “He has no business speaking like this.”
While it was common for BJP leaders to spread lies about their political opponents, the matter should be taken seriously when the Union law minister did the same, added Tharoor.
In the second case, Tharoor complained against Kerala BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai for statements regarding the Congress MP’s wives, The News Minute reported. “Everybody is asking how the three wives of the Congress candidate in Thiruvananthapuram died,” Pillai had said in a press conference in the state capital on March 5. “But neither the BJP nor I wish to ask that question.”
Pillai had also claimed that Tharoor’s second wife was a resident of Pattanamthitta district and used to approach him for legal advice. “I never revealed this before because I did not want to use such incidents as political tools,” Pillai had said, without naming Tharoor, who has been married three times. Tharoor said that Pillai’s remarks about his second wife were false as he was married to a Canadian diplomat and not a Kerala resident.
“The state president of the BJP, Sreedharan Pillai, went so far as to invent an imaginary marriage to an imaginary person whom I have never met from a place I have never been to with the name of a father-in-law or someone whom I have never come across and claimed that I had driven her to suicide,” alleged Tharoor.
The Congress leader claimed that BJP leaders were inventing false stories about him since they were unable to stand up to his political achievements. “They have nothing to point to, they have no track record to speak of. So they have chosen to run a campaign of character assassination based on lies and falsehoods,” he said. “This must be stopped and the courts are the right place to stop it.”