Islamic televangelist Dr Zakir Naik has slapped a Rs 500 crore defamation case against senior journalist and editor-in-chief of Times Now, Arnab Goswami. The legal notice sent by Naik charges Goswami with running a media trial and hate campaign against Naik.
The legal notice sent by advocate Mubian Solkar, who represents Dr Zakir Naik, states that Goswami made false, defamatory and damaging insinuations against Naik. "...you have deliberately and with malicious intention of defaming my client and creating enmity and hatred between religious communities, quoted and/shown only a part of my client's (Naik) speeches, that too totally out of context and also some of which were picked up from doctored speeches of my client available on YouTube/Internet," says the legal notice sent to Goswami.
The legal notice quotes statements made by Goswami during his primetime bulletin The Newshour Debate. It has taken objections to several statements made by Goswami during this show on July 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 14th and 15th. Apart from Goswami, other parties named as respondents in the legal notice are Megha Prasad, chief of bureau of Times Now, channel's CEO Avinash Kaul, Sunil Lulla, CEO of Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd and the company itself.
The notice also points out that Bangladesh based newspaper, The Daily Star, has already denied having said that Naik had inspired the terrorists to kill innocent people. "... it even corrected its report that my client (Naik) was banned from Malaysia. However, you have acted in the most reckless and malicious manner and have continued defamatory tirade against him (Naik)," states the legal notice.
Advocate Mubin Solkar told THE WEEK that Naik wanted an unconditional apology from the respondents named in the notice and a compensation of Rs 500 crore. "We also want them to provide the evidence on which the statements were made on that show. As about compensation, we have not been able to quantify the amount but our estimate is Rs 500 crore. The context and the manner in which the statements were made on that show has hurt religious sentiments of Naik in person and Muslim community as well," said advocate Solkar. "We will wait for their response to our notice but we are firm on pursuing this case to its logical end," he added.