Thiruvananthapuram clash heats up: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar slaps defamation notice on Shashi Tharoor : The Tribune India

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Thiruvananthapuram clash heats up: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar slaps defamation notice on Shashi Tharoor

Retract and apologise or face action, says the IT Minister to rival and three-term Congress MP

Thiruvananthapuram clash heats up: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar slaps defamation notice on Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor (left) and Rajeev Chandrashekhar. PTI/Reuters file photos



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, April 10

The fight for the VIP segment of Thirivananthapuram in Kerala heated up Wednesday with BJP candidate and IT minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar slapping a defamation notice on Congress rival and sitting MP Shashi Tharoor.

In the legal notice sent to Tharoor, a three term MP from the seat running for the fourth time, Chandrashekhar alleges dissemination by his rival of “patently false information among the constituents of Thiruvananthapuram purportedly spreading misleading information regarding bribing key voters and influential figures such as Parish priests, among others.”

The minister expressed ‘shock’ at the allegations made by Shashi Tharoor in a recent TV interview and has demanded immediate retraction of what he described as “reckless statements.”

Shashi Tharoor must also tender a public apology or face legal ramifications, he said.

The notice read, “Immediately withdraw all the allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee against Our Client, i.e. Shri. Rajeev Chandrashekhar on the aforesaid news channel dated 06.04.2024; Tender an unconditional public apology to Our Client to his satisfaction through print and electronic media with regard to the said baseless allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee; and Immediately cease, refrain and desist from defaming, harassing, hampering the reputation of Our Client and spreading any uncalled for rumour and stop indulging in any such activities in the future.”

The legal notice also states that Tharoor has made these statements “with an intent to harm” Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

It emphasizes how such defamatory statements have harmed and disrespected the entire Christian community of Thiruvananathapuram and its leaders by accusing them of engaging in cash-for-votes activities, further highlighting the need for a public apology within 24 hours.

“Shocked and surprised to watch the news video dated 06.04.2024 on a Malayalam news channel named 24 News, wherein you, the Noticee (Shashi Tharoor), made defamatory statements alleging that Our Client (Rajeev Chandrasekhar) had indulged in illegal activities of offering money to voters, and that Our Client is spreading lies in Christian communities. Not only are the said statements totally and completely false but it is clear that the same was made with the clear mala fide intent to tarnish the reputation of Our Client in order to try and gain an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections,” the legal notice further said.

This legal notice comes shortly after Tharoor allegedly violated Rule I(2) of the Model Code of Conduct, which says candidates must confine their criticisms to “policies and programmes, past record and work” and refrain from criticism of other parties or workers based on “unverified allegations or distortions”.

“In this case, Tharoor’s statements made to ‘24 News’ channel on how Rajeev Chandrasekhar offered money to key voters in the constituency, including religious and community leaders such as parish priests, without disclosing their names publicly, has not been verified,” Chandrashekhar said.

Chandrashekhar, a three term RS MP, is fighting his maiden Lok Sabha poll.

Tharoor has also been accused of “violating sub-section 3 of section 123 of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, by appealing to the religious identity of the voters, and his actions constitute a corrupt practice under the RP Act as held by the decision of the 7-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Abhiram Singh v. CD Commachen (Civil Appeal No.37/1992).”

The legal notice further stated that, “It is apprehended that you (Shashi Tharoor) have concocted these allegations and circulated them in order to influence the voters in Thiruvananthapuram. It is feared that you have engaged in spreading such false news in order to subvert the process of free and fair elections.

It is feared that your statements are now being circulated by your agents, supporters, and party members through various platforms including social media and messaging apps to spread the false allegations against Rajeev Chandrasekhar.”

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#BJP #Congress #Kerala #Shashi Tharoor


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