Rockybul sues magazine

GUWAHATI, Feb 20 – Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain today filed a criminal defamation case against the editor of The Week for naming him as one of the beneficiaries of a Rs 1,000 crore financial scam in the NC Hills Autonomous Council, while, the other six ministers named in the report are also contemplating same kind of action.

State Government spokesman and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he has already sent a legal notice to the weekly magazine and he would file a defamation case if the magazine fails to seek apology within 21 days. He said that the other Ministers named in the report are also contemplating action against the magazine.

Sarma made it clear that the Government’s stand on the issue is clear that the National Investigating Agency (NIA) did not name any Minister in the charge sheet nor the agency sought permission to grill any Minister. “There cannot be two reports, one filed in the court and another somewhere else. The Government will only go by the charge sheet,” he added.

Our Nagaon correspondent adds: The Forest Minister has filed a criminal case under Section 500, 501, 502, and 34 IPC, against managing editor of The Week Philips Mathew, chief editor TR Gopalakrishnan and writer Kanhaiya Velleri, and Jacob Mathew of the Malaya Manorama group for publishing a defamatory write-up on its February 7, 2010 issue.

In his statement before court, the minister observed that since his name was not in the charge-sheet of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), then on what authority the magazine questioned the NIA for excluding his name from the charge-sheet, and another question was how did the magazine obtain the NIA report. The case (no 546/2010) was filed in the Court of the SDJM, NS Baruah.

Dhruba Kumar Saikia and Alok Goswami represented Hussain.