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[SSR Media Trial] Petitioners Seek Directions To TV Channels To Disclose Source Of Whatsapp Chats, Witness Statements Etc.

Nitish Kashyap
4 Nov 2020 5:38 AM GMT
[SSR Media Trial] Petitioners Seek Directions To TV Channels To Disclose Source Of Whatsapp Chats, Witness Statements Etc.

Producer Nilesh Navlakha, who is one of the petitioners in the batch PILs before Bombay High Court against media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, has filed an interim application seeking directions to broadcasters to disclose the source from where the WhatsApp chats/statements of accused/witnesses, questionnaires of investigating agencies, etc. were received by them.

The applicant has cited various instances when news channels like Republic TV, Times Now and ABP news broadcasted that they had access to some internal documents including witness statements made to the investigative agencies, also other vital information that could have only been available with the investigating agencies like CBI, ED and NCB.

The application states-

"If the information has not been leaked by investigating agencies in such circumstances, none of the investigating agencies have taken any action against media channels for broadcasting the sensitive personal/private Whatsapp conversations and statements recorded by the investigating agencies which should be in the sole possession of the agency and privy to the parties concerned.

Selective leaks by investigating officers or agencies deflect public opinion and amounts to conduct of a trial by media by leaking selective evidence. It is submitted that the use of electronic media by the investigating agency probably to influence public opinion during the pendency of an investigation subverts the fairness of the investigation. It is submitted that neither the investigating agency nor the media are the adjudicators nor do they pronounce upon guilt. It is submitted that selective leak of sensitive information to the media amounts to manipulating public opinion by tarnishing the reputations of individuals involved in the process of investigation."

Applicants have also sought directions for a Judicial Court-monitored inquiry to be conducted into the misconduct, if any, of the officials of investigating agencies, i.e., CBI, NCB or ED, or by the accused or the witnesses: and to take strict action against the concerned officers. Moreover, the applicants have prayed for directions to the Investigating Agencies to take necessary action against the broadcasters under the appropriate provisions of law and to file a status report before the High Court.

Interim application filed through Advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Shashwat Anand and Pankaj Kandhari

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