Deepika Rajawat Slaps A Legal Notice Against Zee News For Broadcasting False Claims Against Her
On April 18, Deepika Singh Rajawat, counsel for the family of the eight-year-old girl from Kathua who was gang-raped and brutally murdered, slapped a legal notice against the Essel Group’s Zee News for broadcasting allegedly false report on their show DNA, titled “देखें, गैंगरेप पीड़ित के नाम पर लाख का चन्दा जमा करने का खेल” (See, how they are collecting donations in the name of the gang-rape victim).
Representing Rajawat is Advocate Sangeeta Madan who issued a letter to Mayank Aggarwal, senior manager of Strategy and planning at Zee Media Corporation Limited, which said that “he aforesaid act of your channel Zee News Hindi, which has been done without proper verification of facts, is contrary to the factual position and is in gross breach of journalistic ethics.”
The letter stated that the statements made on the show were false and were made to portray Rajawat in communal light. The letter stated Zee News had “aired a false statement made by some Mr Bhatti to the anchor Mr Sudhir Chaudhary, to the effect that my client [Rajawat] had spent the last 2-3 days in Jawaharlal Nehru University (“JNU”) without verifying the material facts to portray my client in a communal light.”
Madan refuted the claims made during the show that her client Deepika Rajawat spent few days at JNU, in the letter, saying, “While my client reiterates that she has never stayed at JNU, she nevertheless firmly believes that there cannot be anything remotely wrong in staying in JNU if ever she did. Your innuendoes and spreading of communal hatred constituted a threat to her life.
She also wrote that “It is unfortunate that the situation is being politicised and circumstances are being created in which the functioning of the courts and the justice system is being made impossible.” She added that the show clouded the good work done by Rajawat.
Madan is asking the channel to disclose the source of their information, to pull down the video and to issue a legitimate apology. “You are also called upon to broadcast a corrigendum on all your news channels tendering apology for carrying the malicious, false news item full of communal innuendo without proper verification of facts and vilifying my client, failing which legal action may be initiated by my client against you and a complaint will be lodged with the News Broadcasters Association appropriate authorities and in the Court of Law,” she stated.
The show aired on Zee News
In the one and half hour show DNA, which aired on April 17, Sudhir Chaudhary claimed that all the hullabaloo around the gang-rape and brutal murder of an eight-year-old has been centred around hearsay and nobody has actually bothered to check the facts.
He also said that the way this news is being portrayed on media channels, it is trying to continually reiterate the emphasis on points like that the crime was committed in devasthan, that the victim was a Muslim and the accused are Hindus.
He claimed that the report being presented in the show is a reported from ground zero.
It was claimed on the show that it was not possible that the minor would have been raped repeatedly over days at Devisthan, since many devotees attend the temple. However, the charge sheet filed says that the victim was heavily sedated and was covered with plastic mats and cotton threaded mat and was kept under a table.
Secondly, the claims made in the show that the temple was often crowded and that how no one noticed this heinous crime being committed, is false. In reality, the temple is situated in the middle of nowhere and there are no houses in the vicinity for up to few kilometres.
Another claim made in the show was that it is not possible that a father would direct his own son to commit such crime. However, the charge sheet filed states that Sanji Ram directed his nephew, who is the juvenile, to kidnap the victim and administer intoxicants to her.
Chaudhary, in the show also said that one of the accused, Vishal Jangotra was writing his exam in Meerut at the time of the incident, however, the investigation by the Jammu and Kashmir SIT revealed that Jangotra did not write the exam and that a proxy candidate might have written the exam on his behalf.
Chaudhary questioned that “why would the accused leave the body of the victim near own house?”
The charge sheet has said that the initial plan was to dump the body in the canal at Hiranagar. However, due to unavailability of the vehicle to transport the body and since there was a “Fanda” which was to be organised at the temple by Sanji Ram himself, the body had to be finally left at the jungle.
In the DNA show titled “देखें, गैंगरेप पीड़ित के नम पर लाख का चोंदा जमा करने का खेल”, speaking about Deepika Rajawat, a person named Mr Bhatti allegedly made false statements to anchor Sudhir Chaudhary. He raised the question whether the huge amount of money collected in the name of the minor victim has actually reached the victim’s family.
Bhatti also falsely claimed that Rajawat had stayed at JNU for two-three days.
Sudhir Chaudhary’s arrest in 2012
Notably, Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia, editors of Zee group were arrested by the Delhi Police’s crime branch in November, 2012 after Congress MP Naveen Jindal complained that the two of them tried to extort Rs 100 crore worth of advertisements from his company as a return of favour for dropping stories linking Jindal group with Coalgate.
Even as they denied the charges, the forensic report submitted revealed that the CD of conversation between the Zee editors and Jindal officials was not doctored. In the video, the two Zee editors can be seen asking for Rs 100 crore for carrying out favourable reports on industrials amidst the coal scam.
The duo was then sent to Tihar Jail by Delhi court for 14 days.