Delhi HC Dismisses Republic TV And Arnab Goswami's Pleas For Quashing Order Directing FIR On Shashi Tharoor's Complaint

Delhi HC Dismisses Republic TV And Arnab Goswami

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed as not maintainable a petition moved by TV journalist Arnab Goswami and the Republic TV seeking quashing of the magisterial court order for registration of FIR against them on the complaint made by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for allegedly committing theft of confidential documents pertaining to investigation in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar and the alleged hacking of his e-mail account.

Justice Najmi Waziri dismissed Goswami's petition in limine saying the high court is not the correct forum when he had the alternate remedy of challenging the magistrate's order before the Sessions court.

Goswami had sought quashing of the January 21 order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh.

Tharoor was represented before high court by senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and advocate Gaurav Gupta who challenged Goswami's petition as not maintainable.

It is to be noted that Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi on January 17, 2014. Tharoor was recently charged for subjecting her to cruelty and abetting suicide.

While the police probe is on, Tharoor had moved the Patiala House court accusing Arnab and the news channel of gaining illegal access to confidential documents which were part of police probe records and hacking his e-mail account to access personal e-mails and then broadcasting them on the news channel to increase its viewership.

In his complaint, Tharoor had said that police collected number of items/materials of deceased and recorded statement of complainant and one of his aide Mr. Narain Singh. All those documents/materials were part of confidential record and within the sole possession of investigation team.

He had told the court that "during several broadcast, certain documents were shown on News channel which were stated to be documents related to investigation of the death of complainant's wife. Such documents are copy of internal file notings of Delhi police, copy of statement of complainant given to Delhi police, copy of statement of complainant's aide Narain Singh, pictures of deceased which were taken during autopsy".

The complaint had further stated that the accused persons "illegally accessed those confidential documents and shown/broadcast them on their News channel…accessed the complainant's Email account without his authority or consent and shared the personal Emails on their News channel and even filed said materials/documents as part of their reply in Civil Suit before the high court".

Response to his RTI queries had further revealed that the documents were not in public domain.

It was then that the magistrate ordered an FIR to be registered while noting that, "This court is of the considered view that in view of allegations levelled by complainant and material produced on record in the form of RTI replies and other material, matter discloses commission of cognizable offence and in view of this court, matter requires investigation by police as it is not clear that how said material came in the possession of proposed accused persons. This court is of the further view that number of persons are to be examined in this matter.

"In these circumstances, SHO concerned is directed to register FIR in this matter and investigate the same as per law. Copy of this order be sent to SHO concerned for compliance".