SC dismiss PIL for investigation of journalists in AgustaWestland

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for investigation of journalists in the AugustaWestland scam case. It said the independence of media cannot be curtailed on the basis of mere allegations.

The apex court called the PIL an attack on media, which would smother the media’s independence.

Indian media and certain prominent journalists came under the scanner for allegedly receiving pay-offs and favours from AgustaWestland, for publishing favourably on the chopper deal.

Veteran journalist, Hari Jai Singh has alleged through a PIL that in AugustaWestland deal Rs. 50 crore have been paid to manage the media. He was earlier an associate editor with ‘The Indian Express’ and The Tribune.

During the hearing, the apex court also said that media has been given a special status in our democratic setup.

The court said the petitioner that it is disguised driven idea to cut the freedom of media in democracy.

On January 4, a CBI special court granted bail to the former air chief’s cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and his lawyer Gautam Khaitan.

The court had then directed Sanjeev and Khaitan not to contact any witnesses and not to leave the National Capital Region (NCR) without prior permission.

The court had earlier granted bail to the 72-year-old former air chief, citing the CBI had failed to state the alleged bribe amount and the day it was paid.

The former air chief, who retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on December 9, 2016, by the CBI in connection with the case which relates to the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from the U.K.-based firm during the UPA-2 regime.

Tyagi has been accused of influencing the deal in favour of Agusta Westland during his tenure as the IAF chief. (ANI)

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