दिल्ली पुलिस के पूर्व अधिकारी डा. सत्यवरी सिंह राठी ने कई अखबारों, उसके संपादकों और रिपोर्टरों की शिकायत करते हुए अपने वकील के जरिए प्रेस काउंसिल के पास लंबा चौड़ा पत्र भिजवाया है. इसमें आरोप लगाया गया है कि मीडिया ने डा. राठी के मामले को तोड़-मरोड़कर और झूठे तरीके से पेश किया. राष्ट्रीय सहारा, पंजाब केसरी, दैनिक जागरण, हिंदुस्तान टाइम्स की रिपोर्ट्स पर डा. राठी को खास तौर पर आपत्ति है. शिकायती पत्र इस प्रकार है-
Press Council of India
Soochna Bhawan, C.G.O. Complex
Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003.
SUB: COMPLAINT ABOUT MALICIOUS, DELIBERATE, CONCOCTED AND IRRESPONSIBLE REPORTING IN A SECTION OF THE PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA.
1. It is respectfully submitted that the applicant is an ex.-Assistant. Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Delhi Police and is presently a convict and undergoing life sentence in Central Jail No.1, Tihar, New Delhi in an infamous criminal case known in media parlance as “C.P. Shootout case”.
2. That at the outset, the applicant would like to bring to your kind notice, the brief facts of this case as made out by evidence and records of the Ld. Trial Court.
That on 31-03-1997, in pursuance to electronic surveillance of mobile phone of an interstate and wanted criminal Mohd. Yaseen, a team of Inspector Anil Kumar of Interstate Cell, Crime Branch, Delhi Police had gone to mother dairy to verify his specific movement. After noticing a suspect with two others and having the resembling descriptions, the Inspector demanded the reinforcement on devil net wireless set from the applicant to nab the trio.
On further getting this information on telephone from the applicant, the D.C.P./Crime Branch directed the applicant to rush with the staff to assist Inspector Anil Kumar in nabbing the suspects. The applicant called the available staff and briefed them about the ongoing development and information received from Inspector Anil Kumar and to nab them and use minimum necessary force, if required, to arrest them.
Inspector with his two policemen followed the trio’s blue esteem car from mother dairy, Patparganj till outer Circle, Connaught Place where the Esteem Car stopped opposite fire station and two out of them went inside a building, which was later- on identified at Dena Bank. When the esteem car carrying the trio started to move from there, the reinforcement comprising of the applicant and six other policemen in an official gypsy and sub-inspector Ashok Rana and four other policemen in another private car arrived there, but since the esteem car was moving, therefore, it was communicated between the applicant and Inspector Anil Kumar on Devil Net Wireless Set, that on the next available red light, the three occupants of the esteem car can be arrested with the help of extra staff.
On the next red light stop of Barakhamba Road at about 02:35 P.M., the gypsy carrying the applicant and six others stopped at a distance of 25-30 meters with some public vehicles in between from the blue esteem car bearing no.UP-14F 1580, while the cars of Inspector Anil Kumar and Sub-Inspector Ashok Rana stopped near the Esteem Car. Two constables from the applicant’s vehicle got down and rushed to join Inspector Anil Kumar in helping him to nab them.
Immediately thereafter, the applicant and others heard the sound of bullet and also saw some of the police officials firing from their service weapons. Taken by surprise, the applicant and others got down from the gypsy and rushed towards the esteem car. By the time, they reached there, the firing had stopped.
The applicant saw the three car occupants lying injured inside the esteem car. The applicant immediately flashed two wireless messages to crime branch control room intimating about the shootout, for sending P.C.R. Van and local police and also called the D.C.P./Crime Branch on the spot, for further investigation.
Within a minute, a P.C.R. Van reached on the spot from nearby location. The applicant directed the P.C.R. Van incharge A.S.I. Ombir Singh to take immediately the three car occupants to hospital. With the help of crime branch officials, they were taken out and removed in P.C.R. Van and sent to R.M.L. Hospital, where two injured were identified as Jagjeet Singh (driving the car and resembling Mohd.Yaseen) and Pradeep Goyal (sitting on the co-driver’s seat) and declared brought dead, while the third injured Tarunpreet Singh sitting on the back seat of the car survived.
Two constables Subhash Chand and Sunil Kumar were also injured in the shootout and they were also sent to R.M.L. Hospital by the applicant in his official gypsy.
The applicant was told by the staff that first of all, bullet was fired from inside the car and then they retaliated in self defence. Local police immediately arrived on the spot and took up the investigation.
The S.H.O. seized one Italian pistol of 7.65 mm with 7 live bullets in the magazine, one stuck up bullet in the barrel and two empty of bullets found and used cases inside the esteem car in the presence of the public witnesses.
The applicant was taken by Shri Nikhil Kumar, then, C.P., Delhi in his car to R.M.L. Hospital at about 03:30 P.M. Inspector Anil Kumar submitted his written report to S.H.O. of P.S. Connaught Place at about 05:00 P.M. for registration of a case U/S 186/353/307/34 I.P.C. and 25/27 Arms Act, Consequently, Case FIR No.448/1997 was registered.
Next day on 1.4.1997, a cross case on the complaint of Shri Dinesh Chand Gupta, father-in-law of deceased Pradeep Goyal was registered u/s 302/34 IPC against the police party of crime branch.
Next day, both these cross cases were transferred to CBI and were further re-registered and their investigation was taken up.
After the investigation, CBI submitted a charge sheet without arrest against ten accused policemen including the applicant, Inspector Anil Kumar, Sub Inspector Ashok Rana, Head Constables Tejpal, Shiv Kumar, Mahavir Singh and Constables Subhash Chand, Sumer Singh, Sunil Kumar and Kothari Ram, while five others though present on the spot, were not charge sheeted on the ground that they did not participate in the firing. Out of these ten officials, eight participated in the firing. The applicant and Inspector did not fire at all.
The applicant applied for anticipatory bail, but it was denied by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. Therefore, the applicant and other co-accused persons surrendered on 31.7.1997 before the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi and were sent to judicial custody.
The charges u/s 302/307/193/120-B IPC with alternative charge u/s 302/307/193/34 IPC were framed against the ten accused persons.
After incarceration of more than three years, the applicant and other co-accused were released on regular bail by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the year 2000.
After the long drawn trial for about ten years, in which 74 prosecution witnesses were examined, the judgment was pronounced on 16.10.2007 by Sh. Vinod Kumar, the Ld. Trial Court, Patiala House, New Delhi. All the ten accused including the applicant were held guilty u/s 302/307/193/120-B IPC and on 24.10.2007 sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. All the ten accused persons were again sent to jail as convicts.
3. Aggrieved with this impugned order and judgment, the applicant and others filed appeal before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. The Bench comprising Mr. Justice B.N. Chaturvedi and Mr. Justice G.S. Sistani heard the appeals and pronounced the judgment on 18.9.2009, when the Hon’ble High Court reversed the findings of the Ld. Trial Court and acquitted all the ten Convicts including the applicant u/s 302/307/193/120-B IPC but convicted and maintained the sentence u/s 302/307/34 IPC. All were acquitted for planting the weapon.
4. The applicant and others further challenged this order and judgment of the Hon’ble High Court and preferred an SLP and Criminal Appeal, wherein, special leave to appeal was granted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
5. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India comprising the Bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice H.S. Bedi and Hon’ble Mr. Justice C.K. Prasad heard the appeals and dismissed them on 2.5.2011.
6. The applicant has filed Review Petition against the order dated 02.05.2011 which is pending before the Registry of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
7. The Ld. Trial Court held that since the driver side glass of the esteem car was found intact even after the firing, the claim of the police party that the occupant driver suspected to be Mohd. Yaseen fired through that glass pane was found to be false and thus, no firing was initiated from inside the car and the pistol was planted. The Ld. Trial Court convicted the applicant and others u/s 302/307/193/201/120-B IPC.
On an appeal filed by the applicant against the impugned order, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court found no evidence of conspiracy to kill the car occupants suspected to be Mohd. Yaseen and acquitted the applicant and others u/s 302/307/193/201/120-B IPC. The Hon’ble High Court also held that the driver side glass of esteem car was broken by the firing. The Hon’ble High Court further held that there was no evidence of planting the pistol and ammunition inside the esteem car, therefore, the accused could not be convicted for planting the Italian pistol and ammunition even with the aid of Sec 34 IPC but the Hon’ble High Court further convicted the applicant and others u/s/302/307/34 IPC, even when no appeal was made by the state (CBI) about Sec 34IPC (Common Intention) and even no oral arguments were advanced by the CBI and no rebuttal was made by the defence side. Therefore, no opportunity was given to the applicant to explain his case and it was a clear cut violation of the fundamental principles of Natural Justice.
8. During the hearing before Hon’ble Supreme Court, the CBI had argued that there was no evidence to suggest that it was on the orders of ACP Rathi that the firing had been resorted to. It is mentioned in the judgment “Dealing with the arguments addressed by Mr. Vineet Dhanda, the learned ASG has highlighted that there was no evidence to suggest that it was on the orders of ACP Rathi that the firing had been resorted to….”
9. In the Judgment, the Hon’ble Judges have held that in the present matter, however, that the recovery of 7.65 mm Weapon appears to be an admitted fact, but with the rider that it had been planted to help the defence.
The later part of this sentence that with the rider that it had been planted to help the defence has not been proved or even alleged by any sort of evidence or circumstances. Out of 74 prosecution witnesses examined by the prosecution, none have deposed that the weapon was planted or that there was no weapon inside the esteem car. Seven prosecution witnesses have deposed that the pistol was recovered immediately after the firing. Further, this recovery of pistol and ammunition was proved and physically linked with the car. ASI Ombir Singh of PCR Van who reached on the spot within a minute from his nearby location of fire station had deposed during trial that he saw the pistol lying in the car when he was removing the injured from car to PCR Van.
The following reports of C.F.S.L. expert are also relevant with this issue of planting the weapon.
a. That the weapon is “fire arm” as defined in Arms Act and is in working order and had been fired through.
b. That two spent and empty cases of 7.65 mm seized from the esteem car were fired from this Italian pistol. (Please note that no charge of planting these two spent bullet cases was framed)
c. That seven live bullets of 7.65 mm recovered from the magazine of this Italian pistol were live one and could be loaded in and fired from this Italian pistol.
d. That a stuck up bullet found in the barrel of this Italian pistol at the time of seizure from inside the car and having a dent on its percussion cap was attempted to be fired from this Italian pistol.
e. That the possibility of firing from inside the car also cannot be ruled out.
f. That this pistol of 7.65 mm is capable of inflicting injuries to constables Sunil Kumar and Subahsh Chand as described in their respective M.L.C.s when fired from within the Maruti Esteem Car with all the window glasses drawn up from close positions.
g. That the cut holes on the clothes of Subhash Chand could have been caused with the help of this Italian pistol.
h. That all sealed parcels of this case, including Italian pistol and ammunitions were sent to Director, C.F.S.L., New Delhi by the C.B.I. on 08-04-1997.
i. That the reports of C.F.S.L. about the said pistol and ammunitions were received by C.B.I. on 17-04-1997 and 26-04-1997.
10. That the applicant was not present on the spot at the time of firing and reached near the esteem car after the firing had stopped. The Hon’ble Supreme Court have observed in this regard as :-
“We have seen the site plan and notice that A.C.P. Rathi was sitting in his gypsy about 15 meters away from the car when the incident happened”.
11. That the Hon’ble Supreme Court about the firing order, if any, given to the sub-ordinates as claimed by them, during their arguments has stated as :-
“We see absolutely no evidence that the firing had been resorted to by the seven appellants on the order of A.C.P. Rathi”.
12. That some important facts and circumstances which are relevant here to see if the applicant had any intention, overt act, conduct and knowledge towards the crime are given below:-
a. That the applicant had requested the police headquarters on 19-03-1997 to provide trained and skilled commandos to be used for effecting the arrest of hardened and interstate criminals. But the police headquarters did not provide these commandos.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observes about this fact in the judgment as :-
“It has, infact, been pointed out by Mr. Sharan that A.C.P. Rathi had written to his superiors pointing to the inaptitude of his team of officers but he had been told that no other staff was available”.
b. That on the day of incident, the applicant had gone to Tis Hazari Court for attending as investigating officer for giving evidence in the designated court of TADA in his normal course of duty and had remained there till noon time, as proved by the Court’s Certificate.
c. That after receipt of information about movement of suspected criminal Mohd.Yasin at Mother Dairy Patparganj, the applicant had informed his superior Shri Qamar Ahmed, then D.C.P., Crime Branch on telephone in his office who had directed the applicant to rush personally along with the staff and apprehend them.
d. That in obedience to the direction of his superior, the applicant further directed Inspector Anil Kumar to effect the arrest of suspected criminal Mohd. Yaseen and his two associates with the help of extra staff which was accompanying the applicant.
e. That the applicant’s official vehicle gypsy stopped at a distance of 25/30 metres from the esteem car, as a number of public vehicles were in between, while the applicant remained seated in the gypsy, the firing had started and when the applicant and others rushed to the esteem car, the firing had stopped. The applicant gave wireless messages to Crime Branch Control Room calling P.C.R. Van, local Police and D.C.P. Crime Branch himself on the spot for necessary investigation.
f. That the applicant directed A.S.I. Ombir Singh of P.C.R. Van to immediately remove the injured three car occupants to R.M.L. Hospital and it was only due to speedy and timely evacuation of the injured from the spot on the directions of the applicant that injured Tarunpreet Singh could survive. A.S.I. Ombir Singh had deposed before the Ld. Trial Court in this regard.
g. That the applicant also removed the injured two constables Sunil Kumar and Subahsh Chand to R.M.L. Hospital in his official gypsy.
h. That in the complaint lodged by Inspector Anil Kumar about the sequence of this incident, the applicant is not shown on the firing spot nor any overt act or any firing order or any role is attributed to the applicant.
i. That Shri Qamar Ahmad, then, D.C.P., Crime Branch had deposed that the applicant was performing his duty in a bonafide manner and informing him of each and every step for the arrest of Mohd.Yaseen and others and further, the D.C.P. had informed his superior officers in the police headquarters about the efforts to arrest Mohd. Yaseen.
13. That out of 74 prosecution witnesses examined by them, none of them have deposed even a whisper against the applicant or his any overt act or any commission/ omission towards the incident.
14. That the applicant despite having a service pistol did not fire it nor gave any firing order to the subordinates. The firing was done by the sub-ordinates on their own and in their own judgment and wisdom, and the applicant is nowhere linked with the firing.
15. That the evidence of Mohd. Yaseen produced by the prosecution itself shows that initial information received by crime branch was accurate and in the right direction
(a). That in all cases of alleged fake encounters, there have been allegations of illegal arrest, detention and then killing in cold blood.
But, this is a unique and unprecedented case, wherein, nothing sort of such allegations are there, as it was transparent and in broad day light, in an area like Connaught Place. But, even then, the version of the accused police officers was not accepted by the Hon’ble Courts. The reasons are given in the later part of this petition.
(b) Further, this is a unique case, wherein the applicant, acting bonafidely under the color of official duty removed the three injured car occupants to hospital and later on, he was convicted for committing their murder and attempted murder.
Nowhere in the history of Criminal Justice System, none of the killer convict ever hospitalized the victim.
Simply, this alone conduct of the applicant shows that the applicant did not share any common intention, if any, with others to shoot at the car occupants.
(c) It is admitted case of CBI that the applicant and other co-accused were working under the color of their office and therefore, the sanction for prosecution was obtained. Despite this fact, the present case of the applicant was kept at par with the gravity of cases of assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and Baint Singh, wherein LTTE and Punjab Militants were also awarded the same life sentences.
This poses a serious question in this case:- Has really justice been done to the applicant?
(d) The applicant has been convicted merely because he was Incharge of Inter State Cell, Crime Branch. Holding of senior rank became misfortune for the applicant which he earned through dedicated and hard work for 24 years of service.
16. That five other policemen who remained seated in the vehicle with the applicant and were similarly placed, were not charge sheeted by the C.B.I., on the ground that they did not participate in the firing. Despite the case of the applicant been on parity with those five policemen, C.B.I. discriminated and went against the fundamentals of natural justice and charge sheeted the applicant.
17. That from the date and time of incident itself, the media, including print and electronics, had started covering the incident and its follow up with a vigorous zeal and passion. Being a watch dog of the society, truly, it is the duty of the media to do its job.
The press has, however, a corresponding duty to ensure that the information about such acts and conduct of public interest of the public person is obtained through fair means, is properly verified and then reported accurately.
18. That as a custodian of public interest, the press has a right to highlight cases of corruption, any irregularity in public bodies or any crime committed by public servants etc., but such material should be based on irrefutable evidence and published after due enquiries and verification from the concerned source and after obtaining the version of the person/authority being commented upon.
19. That freedom of the press involves the reader’s right to know all sides of an issue of a public interest and the issue should be left to the judgment of the readers.
20. That during more than 14 years from the date of this incident, the media had been running a campaign only by publishing one sided story. None from any section of the media either from print or from electronics had ever contacted the applicant during these 14 long – long – years to know the other side of the story.
21. That the applicant would like to show the deliberate, irresponsible and inaccurate reporting simply with a view to sensationalize the issue without any verification by a section of the press, as an example to it :–
a. As per press clipping of Rashtriya Sahara dated 03-04-1997 (enclosed as Annexure-A-1) titled as – (“Muthbhed Ke Kagzaat C.B.I. Ke Kabze Mein Baramad Pistol Chalai Hi Nahi Gayee”) Shri Kanchan Azad, the reporter has claimed in this report that in this fake encounter case, the recovered pistol was not used for the last two months. The ballistic experts after its examination have found that the dust has settled in its barrel. It is further alleged that Satyavir Singh Rathi and his killer team had made all necessary arrangement to make this fake encounter a real one.
In the end of this report, it is further alleged that there were injuries caused on the back of Pradeep Goel with the help of pellets and further it cannot be denied that illicit weapons were not used in this fake encounter.
It is already mentioned hereinbefore in this petition that the pistol and the ammunitions were seized in a sealed parcel by the local police and sent to CFSL by CBI on 08-04-1997 and the reports were given on 17-04-1997 and 26-04-1997 which are contradictory to manipulated and concocted story of Rashtriya Sahara. It is further submitted that no such illicit weapon firing pellets like, 12 bore gun shot, as alleged in the press clipping were used by the police men. All weapons were service weapons and had bullets and not pellets.
This story of Rashtriya Sahara of dated 3.4.1997 is further falsified on the face of it when the CBI’s reports of CFSL show that these sealed parcels were sent on 8.4.1997 and reports received on 17.4.1997 and 26.4.1997.
b. That Shri Umesh Lakhanpal has reported in “Punjab Kesri” dated 03-04-1997 titled “Connaught Place Hatyakand Ki C.B.I. Jaanch Shuru” (enclosed as Annexure-A-2). In its fourth paragraphs that in the meanwhile, C.B.I. had taken this rusted pistol in its possession. It is further mentioned in these paragraph, that after examination of this pistol by explosive experts, it is revealed that this pistol has not been used for the last one month and that barrel is rusted.
In the blurb of this story, it is prominently mentioned that the explosive expert exposed the falsity of the police :- the revolver recovered from the deceased persons was not used for one month.
As already explained in para (a) above, the pistol was seized in a sealed parcel by the local police in the presence of the public witnesses on 31-03-1997 and sent to C.F.S.L. New Delhi by CBI on 08-04-1997. The ballistic expert after examination of the said pistol and ammunitions gave his report on 17-04-1997 and 26-04-1997, which is contradictory to the manipulated and concocted story of Punjab Kesri. As per ballistic expert report, the time of last firing could not be ascertained. Even as per Modi’s Medical Jurisprudence, the time of its last firing cannot be given, as scientifically it is not possible. On the reported date of the story, the pistol had not, even, been deposited in CFSL.
In the blurb of this story, the recovered weapon has been shown as revolver whereas, the weapon which was seized was pistol. There is a lot of difference between a revolver and a pistol.
c. That Jagran reporter had filed a report with Denik Jagran dated 02-04-1997 (enclosed as Annexure-A-3) titled “Dono Ko Ghasit Kar Car Se Nikala Aur Golia Barsa Di”.
In the first paragraph of this report, it is mentioned that businessman Tarun, admitted in R.M.L. Hospital, has stated that policemen first broke the glasses of the car with the help of butt of weapons and thereafter Pradeep Goyal and Jagjeet were dragged outside and bullets were rained on them. Further, post mortem report also makes it clear that bullets were fired on them after they were taken outside, because one dozen bullets had hit on their lower portion of the body.
In the fourth paragraph of this report it is said that one of the policemen dragged Pradeep outside the car and rained bullet on him.
It is hereby submitted that injured Tarunpreet, as claimed in this report, has never said in his statement either to C.B.I. or to the Ld. Trial Court that police first broke the glass of car and then one of the policemen dragged Pradeep and Jagjeet outside the car and fired at them. This is total false, baseless and cooked up story, just to make headlines and sensationalize the issue. There is no mention of such allegation even in the post mortem report, as told in the story.
d. Hindustan Times has reported a story dated 10-04-1997 titled “lie detector test for 8 cops today” (enclosed as Annexure-A-4). As per this story, CBI has decided to subject policemen involved to a lie detector test. In its third paragraph, it is further mentioned A.C.P. Satbir Singh Rathi who was involved in the incident has agreed to take the test tomorrow along with seven others.
It is further mentioned in sixth paragraph of the story, according to Tarun they were dragged out and kicked to ascertain whether they were dead.
In this regard, it is submitted that no such lie detector test was organized by the C.B.I. and no consent was either sought from the applicant or given by him. The statement attributed to injured Tarun that they were dragged out and kicked to ascertain whether they were dead is also false, baseless, imaginary and filed with ulterior motive and even CBI has not alleged it.
e. That during 1998, when the applicant was in judicial custody as an under trial, he came to know that Zee Television and Mr.Sohaib Iliyasi were planning to shoot a docu drama in the name of “India’s Most Wanted” based on C.P. Shootout Case with lookalike actors. The applicant and his co-accused Inspector Anil Kumar had sent them legal notices not to start production and airing of this serial as the matter was subjudice.
Inspite of this legal notice, the said serial was produced and aired on 18-09-1998 and 24-09-1998 by showing the applicant to hit the esteem car with his official gypsy, dragged out the three car occupants and shoot them with his weapon with close range and then kicked their bodies.
These allegations attributed to the applicant were never alleged even by C.B.I. in the charge sheet, therefore, aggrieved with this serial, the applicant filed a suit for damages and stay for its telecast before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. The said suit for damages is still pending in Tis Hazari.
f. That the said stories as depicted in Annexures-A1, A2, A3, A4 and in other sections of the media carried just after two days of the incident, about the ballistic and explosive experts’ reports when even these sealed parcels were not sent to CFSL and further carried and followed by a large section of the media even during the trial and its effect was so overwhelming that the common man was easily swayed with these cooked up stories which were actually false and contrary to established record and evidence adduced by the C.B.I. itself and that a general opinion was formed among the readers of these newspapers and viewers of T.V. Channels and public at large that the pistol was planted.
This manifest false propaganda by these newspapers and T.V. Channels caused great prejudice to the applicant and even without any evidence of planting, the Hon’ble Courts did not believe the version of the applicant and other co-accused.
In view of no evidence on record, if the planting of pistol is not accepted, as per ballistic expert’s opinion which remained unchallenged by the prosecution, then, the defence is succeeded in making the case of preponderance of probability which only is a legal requirement for defence.
22. That after conviction of the applicant, a negative image of the applicant has been created in the society and Delhi Police itself.
23. By these malicious and false media stories, people in general have become biased towards the applicant and also affected the investigation, trial and appeals thereafter.
24. That the family members of the applicant including, wife, three children and other relatives and friends have also been affected negatively and these false media stories have caused irreparable damage and stigma to them as well.
25. That the applicant is a law abiding person and fought his legal battle for 14 long years as an individual against the institutions of mighty state.
26. That none from the media whether print or electronics ever tried to contact the applicant during these long-long-years to know the version of the applicant.
27. That due to these false media stories planted by vested interests with their ulterior motive caused great injustice to the applicant and his family and thus, indirectly denied fair investigation, trial, including appeals, to the applicant.
28. That Press Council of India has made “norms of journalistic conduct – principle and ethics”.
29. That the concerned reporters and editors of the newspapers (respondents herein) and anchor, producer and director of the programme “India’s Most Wanted” dated 18-09-1998 and 24-09-1998 broadcast by Zee T.V. have violated the mandate of their own fundamental right as enshrined under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India and further undertook undue liberty and misused this right with ulterior motive against the applicant. They further violated the norms of journalistic conduct as made by the Press Council of India (Principles of Ethics of Accuracy and Fairness, Pre-publication Verification, Caution against defamatory writings, Public Interest and Public Bodies, Nespaper to eschew suggestive guilt etc).
30. They have also violated the provisions regarding investigative journalism.
a. The investigative reporters did not base their stories on facts investigated, detected and verified by themselves and were not checked up from direct and authentic sources by the reporters themselves.
b. The concerned reporters based their stories on merely hearsay or imaginary facts and were not checked and cross checked.
c. The concerned newspapers did not adopt strict standards of fairness and accuracy of facts.
d. The concerned reporters behaved in the manner as an investigator, prosecutor and a judge. Instead, their approach should have been fair, accurate and balanced “from both the sides”.
e. The investigative journalists and newspapers should have been guided by the paramount principle of criminal jurisprudence, that a person is innocent unless proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
f. The headings of these stories should not have been sensational and must have justified the matter printed under them.
g. These reporters, editors and publishers have also violated the sanctity of their rights as enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and mis-used this right with ulterior motive.
31. That Press Council of India, is a statutory, quasi judicial authority functioning as a watch dog of the press, for the press and by the press. It adjudicates the complaints against the press for violations of ethics and a code of journalistic norms.
32. That the applicant being a law abiding person had surrendered before the court of Ld. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on 31-07-1997 after the charge sheet was filed without arrest within a period of three months. Since, the cognizance on the charge sheet was immediately taken, therefore, the applicant did not think it proper to make any complaint against the said news papers as the matter had become subjudice, by then. And, thereafter, the matter continuously remained subjudice till 02-05-2011 when the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of the applicant. In these circumstances, there is no delay on the part of the applicant in making this complaint and if the Hon’ble Press Council thinks otherwise, it is requested that the delay can be condoned in the interest of justice.
33. That the facts and circumstances as narrated above clearly violate the Human Rights of the applicant as provided under the Indian Constitution/Laws, besides the rules, regulations, guidelines and law relating to Press Council of India.
34. That at the time of this incident, the applicant was working under the color of his office, and an employee of Delhi Police. Therefore, state (Delhi Police) is necessarily a party to it.
35. (a) the Institution of Delhi Police, which was employer of the applicant was legally and constitutionally bound to protect the human rights of the applicant, even when he was an accused. If the applicant is made an accused, it does not mean that he loses all his legal and constitutional rights.
Likewise, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which was the investigating and prosecuting agency of the applicant was also duty bound to contradict the speculative, false, imaginative and malicious stories relating to their investigation being floated by the vested interests in the media.
(b) Both these wings of the state i.e. Delhi Police and CBI deliberately and knowing fully well that such stories as shown in Annexures A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4 and also telecast by “India’s Most Wanted” programme by the Zee T.V. and other sections of media are against the established, accepted and admitted evidence collected by Delhi Police and CBI pertaining to this case, deliberately allowed to be circulated in the print and electronic media with the ulterior motive and to exploit the misfortune of the applicant.
(c) That the applicant and other co-accused had surrendered on 31.07.1997 before the Ld. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari Courts and sent to judicial custody. Then, how Zee T.V. could have telecast “India’s Most Wanted” programme produced and anchored by Mr. Sohaib Iliyasi on 18.09.1998 showing the applicant and others as fugitive, that too in a sub-judice matter. Further, the applicant was shown in this docudrama (episode), re-created with the help of lookalike actors to have hit the car of the victims from behind with his official Gypsy, dragged the car occupants outside, shoot them with his service pistol with a close range and kicked the bodies. Whereas, the fact is that even the CBI had not alleged such acts and attributed to the applicant.
This is gross misuse of the right enshrined under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution by the respondents and Zee T.V. against the applicant with great prejudice to the applicant.
(d) Had both these agencies i.e. Delhi Police and CBI acted swiftly and bonafidely with promptness and contradicted such stories, then and there, the market of rumours through media and resultant negative effect of this false propaganda with the help of media would have stopped and the damage to the applicant would have been avoided.
(e) Delhi Police and CBI, thus, both failed in their lawful duty to dispel the false propaganda relating to their case being published and telecast on regular basis by the media and further failed to protect the violation of human rights of the applicant. This responsibility entirely goes on Delhi Police and CBI and both of these government departments cannot shirk from it. Both these agencies violated the human rights of the applicant viz:- presumption of innocence and denial of fair trial, in view of planted, false, imaginary and malicious stories and others in the media (as mentioned above) as enshrined under Article 14,20 and 21 of the Constitution of India and available to the applicant.
(f) The respondents (media persons) further violated the sanctity of their own right given under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India- and mis-used it with ulterior motive against the applicant.
36. That besides fighting this legal battle for such a long period, the applicant pursued his academic interest and did LL.B from Faculty of Law, Delhi University, conducted researches on Prisons Reforms and did Ph.D. from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, (U.P.) with the specific topic – “A History of Human Rights in Tihar Jail, from 1958 till 2002”. The applicant has also completed LL.M. (result of third year awaited from Annamalai University).
The applicant also did P.G. Diploma in Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee law from Indian society of International Law, New Delhi and Post Graduate Certificate in Cyber Law from IGNOU.
In the facts and circumstances given above, it is humbly prayed that necessary enquiry may kindly be made on this complaint and necessary action as deem fit under the relevant laws, rules, guidelines under the Press Council Act against the concerned reporters, editors and publishers of concerned newspapers Annexures A-1, A-2, A-3 and A-4 may kindly be taken to prevent recurrence of any such infringing story/report/publication against any individual etc:-
Strict rules/guidelines be made with some punitive action, for payment of adequate compensation for damages caused to the applicant by the defaulting respondents.
Apology by these newspapers on their front pages with bold headlines for causing injustice and damage to the applicant may also be ordered to be published.
Necessary direction be given to Delhi Police and CBI to prevent recurrence of such infringement of human rights of their employer even when, he is an accused or any other individual who is an accused in any case under investigation with them.
Any other order or direction as deem fit under these circumstances, may also be passed by the Hon’ble Press Council of India.
(Dr. Satyavir Singh Rathi)
S/o Late Kaley Singh
R/o C-26, Anand Vihar,
PRESENTLY LODGED AT:-
Central Jail No.1,
Tihar, New Delhi.
Names and Address of Respondents
Sh. Kanchan Azad, then Reporter Rashtriya Sahara, as per Annexure A-1 Office Address:- Tolstoy Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi-110001,
Editor, Rashtriya Sahara, New Delhi, as per Annexure A-1,
Publisher, Rashtriya Sahara, New Delhi, as per Annexure A-1,
Sh. Umesh Lakhanpal, Reporter, Punjab Kesri Newspaper, as per Annexure A-2 Office Address:- 5/5 INS Building, Rafi Marg, Connaught Place, Delhi-110001,
Editor, Punjab Kesri, as per Annexure A-2, Publisher, Punjab kesri, as per Annexure A-2,
Concerned Reporter of Dainik Jagaran Nespaper, New Delhi as per Annexure A-3 Office Address:- 501, INS Building 5th Floor, Rafi Marg, Connaught Circus, Connaught Place, Delhi-110001,
Editor, Dainik Jagaran, New Delhi, as per AnnexureA-3, Publisher, Dainik Jagaran, New Delhi, as per Annexure A-3,
Concerned Reporter of Hindustan Times, New Delhi, as per Annexure A-4 Office Address:- 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001,
Editor, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, as per Annexure A-4,
Publisher, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, as per Annexure A-4.