Monday, March 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

George may sue; go ahead says tehelka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 18
Labelling Tehelka tapes as “manipulated and concocted” Former Defence Minister George Fernandes today said he was considering taking web portal to court on charges of defamation and libel.

“What are those tapes, to what extent they have been manipulated... Manipulation is not the word, my belief is that they have been concocted to a point when, I don’t know, what kind of crimes have been committed in the process,” Mr Fernandes said in a TV talk show “Hardtalk”.

On whether he was “considering” taking the portal to court, the former Defence Minister said, “if I get such legal advice, why not.”However, Mr Fernandes said he was aware how litigation was “time consuming and ... keeps meandering.

”To questions on the tapes, he said “to suggest that the entire defence procurement establishment of ours is having at every stage persons who could be bought — is there anything more absurd or obnoxious?”Asked whether he would rejoin the government in case he was called back, the Samata leader avoided a direct reply saying, “I have not thought over it”, and added quoting British Labour Party leader Harold Wilson “a week is a long time in politics”.

“If I go to court, I will need a lot of time to deal with it. Between now and then... in four months (the time required by the judicial probe commission to complete its task), there could be lot many developments,” he said.

Meanwhile, Web portal today stood by its expose on corruption in defence deals and dismissed as “typical political reaction” former Defence Minister George Fernandes’ allegation that the tapes were doctored.

“This is a typical reaction politicians come up with when faced with authentic criticism and serious evidence,” Mr Tarun Tejpal, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the portal, said.


Govt to look into portal charges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 18
The government today said it will look into specific allegations made by that a slander campaign was being carried out against the news portal by various agencies at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office if prima facie evidence is produced.

A spokesman said: “If Tehelka produces evidence with regard to the allegations it has made the government will certainly look into them.” The PMO has described as “baseless and unfounded” the allegations made by the website.

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