Ahmedabad/New Delhi: BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay on Monday filed a defamation case against news portal 'The Wire' over a report claiming his firm's turnover grew manifold after the party came to power, as the row set off by the article escalated with the Congress demanding the BJP chief's ouster.
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate S.K. Gadhvi ordered a court inquiry into the matter under CrPC section 302 on Jay Shah's complaint.
In his application, Jay prayed for, "criminal action against the respondents for defaming and tarnishing the reputation of the complainant through an article, which is scandalous, frivolous, misleading, derogatory, libelous and consisting of several defamatory statements."
The seven respondents in the case are the author of the article Rohini Singh, founding editors of the news portal Siddarth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia and M.K. Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and the Foundation for Independent Journalism, the non-profit company that publishes 'The Wire'.
In its article, the news website had claimed Jay's firm Temple Enterprise's turnover zoomed by around 16,000 times from Rs 50,000 to around Rs 80 crore in 2015-16 after the BJP came to power in 2014.
Latching on to the article, the Congress questioned prime minister Narendra Modi's "silence" on the issue, and demanded Shah's ouster and institution of an inquiry by two judges of the Supreme Court.
Jay wronged: BJP
A day after the report was published, senior Congress leaders held press conferences in several places where they targeted Modi and Shah, while BJP leaders rejected the charge, insisting Jay has been "wronged".
Union minister Piyush Goyal said in New Delhi that additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta will represent Jay Shah in the case. He said Mehta had sought law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's permission to appear for Jay and the approval was granted.
"We believe that he (Jay) has been wronged and he must get justice. There is no harm if the best of lawyers appear for him. An ASG can appear in a matter between two private parties after taking permission," he told reporters.
Say something: Rahul to Modi
Spearheading the Congress' assault, its vice-president Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at Modi and pressed him to "say something" on claims made in the report. He used the word "shahzada" to describe Shah's son. At election meetings in 2014 Modi had often targeted Gandhi calling him "shahzada" (prince).
"Did you act as a watchman (chowkidar) or were you complicit? Please say something," Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.