Conspiracy claims against PM can’t be made irresponsibly; it needs cogent, substantial reasons: Delhi HC on Pinaki Misra’s defamation suit

Delhi High Court. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday observed that allegations of conspiracy against the Prime Minister cannot be made irresponsibly and need to be based on “cogent and substantial reasons.”

The High Court said this while hearing a defamation suit by BJD MP Pinaki Misra against Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai over claims of corruption.

The court said that the conspiracy to target the PM is an offence under IPC. “It is treason,” Justice Jasmeet Singh said.

Misra, who is also a senior advocate, has sought relief of permanent injunction and damages against the defendants — Dehadrai, ANI, PTI and X — urging the court to restrain them from making, publishing, circulating ex facie false and defamatory allegations against him.

BJD’s Misra is a Lok Sabha MP representing the Puri constituency in Odisha.

He has alleged that Dehadrai called him “Canning Lane”, “Odia Babu” and “Dalal of Puri”.

Justice Jasmeet Singh on Wednesday issued summons on Misra’s suit. However, the court will continue to hear at 2:30 pm.

Advocate Samudra Sarangi appeared for Misra and Dehadrai was represented through Advocate Raghav Awasthi.

On the allegation of Misra being the architect of the conspiracy to target the Prime Minister, his counsel Sarangi said that my party (BJD) is ideologically aligned with the BJP and the Prime Minister.

The judge asked Dehadrai’s counsel how had Misra targeted the Prime Minister.

The court said, “These are very serious allegations against the PM. You can’t be trigger-happy. You are alleging serious allegations of conspiracy against the PM by a sitting MP. You explain it or I will injunct you.”

Awasthi responded saying that his client has personally witnessed it.

“The second aspect is the sworn affidavit by Mr Darshan Hiranandani,” Awasthi said.

Making submissions by himself, Dehadrai said, “I have personally witnessed conversations between Hiranandani, Ms Moitra and Pinaki Misra. Misra would write her speeches and explain what kind of allegations to make.”

Justice Singh said, “What you are saying has very serious consequences. It affects the highest office of the country.”

He added, “When you say conspiracy against the PM, it is a very serious issue. You can’t be trigger-happy. You may say plaintiff is a politician and he can’t be thin skinned, I agree with that. But what you are alleging is very serious.”

Misra has alleged that on October 14, 2023, a CBI complaint was filed by Dehadrai against Mahua Moitra wherein he made a slew of allegations against her on account of the personal differences between them.

Later, Misra alleged, Dehadrai created pseudonymous account named “Chandraswami Pinaki Moitra” (this account was previously named – “Ahmed Ansari”) and published the first tweet on this account.

He began publishing tweets on X which contains references to “Canning Lane” and “Oriya Babu/Odia Babu.”

Misra has claimed that Dehadrai published a tweet with a picture of Moitra speaking in Parliament, while Misra was seated adjacent to her.

He further alleges that Dehadrai published a tweet with various pictures of Moitra and him (Misra) during Lok Sabha proceedings, and published tweets indicating the actual target of his allegations.

Misra has accused Dehadrai of specifically naming him in his interviews to ANI and PTI, saying that Dehadrai made ex facie false and per se defamatory allegations, and continued to publish tweets with fraudulent, frivolous and baseless allegations against him without having any shred of evidence.

Misra’s suit says, “In the said CBI complaint, Defendant No. 1 (Dehadrai) made various allegations of bribery and corruption against Ms Mahua Moitra. However, in addition to making allegations against Ms Mahua Moitra, for reasons best known to Defendant No. 1, he sought to make the following false allegations as well: ‘This tranche of Rs 2 crore in cash was made via hawala channels to a very close associate of Smt. Mahua Moitra, also a Member of Parliament from Orissa, with whom the funds were ultimately kept for safekeeping. There were also purchases made on behalf of Smt. Moitra of high value items, such as high-end furniture, by the same MP from Orissa, who would then deduct the value from the cash kept with him for safekeeping. This furniture was purchased from a company called M/s OBEETEE and is presently kept at 9B Telegraph Lane – but invoiced to the MP from Orissa….. The informant witnessed multiple meetings between herself, the MP from Orissa and official from CPWD – discussing a myriad ways in which it could be renovated to suit her needs.’”

Misra further said, “However, by January 2024, it was beginning to become clear that Defendant No. 1’s intentions were considerably sinister.”

According to Misra, Dehadrai’s tweet read, “Such an interesting coincidence that in every attack targeting the Prime Minister @narendramodi – outside and particularly inside the Parliament, the looming presence of one man from Odisha is unmistakable.”

IANS

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