A veteran journalist and a media house have settled a defamation case related to the publishing of the controversial tapped conversations of former lobbyist Niira Radia with politicians, corporates and scribes in connection with 2G spectrum case. The settlement was arrived at during mediation after a trial court suggested to both the parties to resolve the dispute and the media outlet has published an apology, the journalist’s advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan said.
Ramakrishnan, representing journalist Vir Sanghvi, said that a joint application would be moved by both the sides before a trial court soon for settling the dispute. Sanghvi, whose alleged conversation with Radia was published by news magazine Outlook, had said in his complaint that he was defamed by the publication. The magazine had published the story on November 29, 2010 purportedly extracting certain tapped conversations allegedly between him and others.
Sanghvi had filed the case against the media house claiming that the extracted conversation was not correct and the alleged tape recordings, relied on by it and also made available on its website, were doctored and tampered with. He had contended that the imputations made in the story were false and defamatory. The counsel for the media house had earlier contended before the high court that as per law, truth was a defence to an allegation of defamation.
To establish that the published conversation was correct transcript of what was contained in the tapes, it would be necessary for the media house to summon and prove before the trial court the originals of the tape recordings, the counsel had said. The issue of Radia tapes had also reached the Supreme court and two petitions were filed before it.
The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia’s phone on a complaint to the then finance minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years, she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore. One of the petitions was filed by former Tata Sons Ltd chairman Ratan Tata claiming that some of these conversations, being private in nature, should not be allowed to be made public. The other petition, filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), had sought that these transcripts be made public in larger public interest.