Tharoor files criminal defamation complaint against RS Prasad

Thiruvananthapuram: Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Shashi Tharoor on Monday filed a criminal complaint against Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him.

Tharoor filed the complaint before a Thiruvananthapuram court.

“He (RS Prasad) accused me of being involved in a murder case. So I sent him a legal notice to withdraw his comments but he took a defiant stand. I tried to bite my tongue but there comes a time when the straw breaks camel’s back,” Tharoor told reporters here.

On October 31, Tharoor had sent a legal notice to Prasad for allegedly calling him a murder accused.

The notice was sent by Tharoor’s lawyer over the video posted by the Union Minister on his official Twitter handle on October 28 where the latter said, “Shashi Tharoor who is charge-sheeted in a murder case has attempted to disrespect Lord Shiva.”

Prasad had made the statement during a press conference after Tharoor quoted an unnamed RSS source as saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was like a “scorpion sitting on a Shiva Linga who cannot be removed by hand or hit with a chappal (slipper) either”.

Demanding an “unconditional and written apology from Prasad within 48 hours” of the receipt of the notice, Tharoor had also asked for the video to be deleted from the micro-blogging site.

He had said that the statement made in the video was “false, untrue, malicious, and highly defamatory”.

“Dr Shashi Tharoor is neither charge-sheeted for the offence nor he is an accused in a case of murder. Being the person who heads the Ministry of Law and Justice, the highest establishment of the Union Government responsible for the Law and Justice System of the country, yourself must be truthful, honest, correct and highly responsible for the public statements you make as the people view or read your statements will tend to relate such statements to the Office you hold and you are well aware of that fact,” the notice read.

The notice further clarified that Tharoor’s comment on Prime Minister Modi saying that former was referring to an old news article published in the magazine ‘Caravan’ in 2012.

“The article was authored by journalist Vinod Jose with the title, ‘The Emperor Uncrowned’ and it ended by quoting an unnamed source in the RSS who expressed its frustration with their inability to curb Modi,” Tharoor said in the notice.

The notice further stated that Tharoor’s statement did not disrespect the deity in any manner.

“If you remove a Scorpion with your hand, you will get stung very badly. But you hit a Shiv Linga with a chappal, you undermine all the sacred tenets of the faith, you all know on which the Scorpion is sitting,” it read.