This is my reply to the notices by the solicitors of Lt Col (retd) Gautama Dutta and Anju Dutta with regard to my post. This post has been adapted to simplify reading on the internet without changing any words. You may read the original notice – Reply to notice from lawyers of Lt Col Gautama Dutta and Anju Dutta.
V – 117 – 2012 18.05.2012
BY REGISTERED A.D./ EMAIL WITHOUT PREGUDICETo, Brus Chambers 8, Rajabahadur Mansion, 3rd Floor, Ambalal Doshi Marg, Fort, Mumbai 400001, India Email: (1) firstname.lastname@example.org (2) email@example.com
Your reference: NIL Your Clients: Lt Col (Retd) Gautama Dutta and Ms. Anju Dutta at Marine Solutions Distributions & Services Pvt Ltd., 54, Grants Annexe, 19/A, BK Road, Colaba, Mumbai – 400 005, Maharashtra, India Our client: Ms. Vidyut Kale, A32/501 Yogi Park, Yogi Nagar, Borivali (west) Mumbai 400091 Dear Sir/Madam, A. We are concerned for Our Client, Vidyut Kale and under instructions of and on behalf of Our Clients, we reply to your legal notice dated 10.05.2012 and 16.05.2012 forwarded by you as under:- B. At the very outset, the allegations and averments made in the notice under reply, unless otherwise specifically traversed and admitted herein, are strictly denied and refuted. It is stated that your aforementioned legal notice is without any basis, unfounded and does not merit any consideration. In this connection Our Client wishes to draw your attention to the following facts: i. Our Client is the author of the Blog “AamJanata” (accessible at http://www.aamjanata.com/ hereinafter referred to as “the Blog”) since April, 2006 and writes about stories relating to public interest. Not only do these stories contain her analysis but often also highlight new facts which are in public interest. This is evident from some of her recent blog posts which comment on issues relating to the safety of nuclear power, freedom of religion and dissent, healthcare etc. ii. A visit to the Blog itself demonstrates that Our Client writes on a wide range of issues with the Blog containing a total of 735 (seven hundred and thirty five) Blog entries spread over 68 (sixty eight) categories and having 195 (one hundred and ninety five) tags. The extent of public participation the Blogposts have gathered can be gauged from the Blog Posts garnering more than 2274 (two thousand, two hundred and seventy four) comments. iii. Due to Our Clients prolific writing on these wide ranges of issues, both the Blog and Our Client enjoy tremendous credibility. Towards this the Blog and Our Client’s work is often cited in several mainstream publications, including but not limited to: a. The New York Times (Article dated March 27, 2012, titled as, “When Home Is No Refuge for Women”) b. Tehelka Magazine (Column dated 17 March 2012, titled as, “The budget of addicts”) c. Mid-day (Article dated as October 10, 2011 and titled as, “Pay up if you know what’s good for you”) d. YuvaTV (Panel discussion on the 8th May 2012 about “IT rules”) e. IBNLive (TV show on the 8th of May 2012 Titled “Face The Nation : has Satyamev Jayate redefined TV shows?”) iv. On May 07, 2012 Our Client received information that a wine and cheese party was organized on board the Belvedere vessel by your Clients which was subsequently raided by the Bombay Excise Department in which arrests were made on May 08, 2012 and then the accused were released on bail. The arrests include your Client, Mr. Gautama Dutta, These facts are stated in an article published in the Indian Express titled as, “senior official held for serving alcohol in yacht” dated May 08, 2012. Contents of the above mentioned Indian Express article are extracted below as they will be relied upon in the para wise-reply:
Subject: Reply to legal notice dated 10.05.2012 (received on 15.05.2012) and legal notice dated 16.05.2012 (received by email on 16.05.2012)
“An executive director and three employees of a boating company were on Monday produced in court under the Bombay Prohibition Act, for allegedly organising a wine-and-cheese party aboard a speed boat, without licence from the State Excise Department. They were granted bail on a bond of Rs 10,000 each. Gautam Dutta, executive director of Marine Solutions and an Asian medallist was arrested on Sunday evening by the State Excise Department for allegedly having evaded paying the licence fee amount and procuring permission under the ‘one day provision’ for serving liquor in a confined space.”v. As this issue concerned issues of public good, Our Client gathered several documents which formed the basis of a Blogpost titled as, “Sailgate : The party that wasn’t” which was posted on May 08, 2012 and accessible at https://aamjanata.com/sailgate-the-party-that-wasnt/ (hereinafter referred to as “the Blogpost”). These documents will be referred in the para-wise reply to various the statements by your Clients in the legal notice. vi. Our client states that the Blogpost contains statements which emanate from facts and are in the public good, being even published in the Indian Express article mentioned above. The Blogpost does in no way harm the reputation of your Client in as much the post relies on facts already in the public domain through news reports and documents which have been gathered through filing requests under the Right to Information Act. Any comments or opinions which are contained in the Blogpost arise fairly and reasonably from these documents and facts the publication of which is in the broader public good. C. Kindly find a parawise reply to your legal notice dated 10.05.2010 as under: Reply to Para 1: The contents of Para 1 are denied. Our Client does not require any permission for the publication of pictures which accompanied the Blogpost. No claims as to infringement of any intellectual property are preferred or any details of ownership over the pictures have been provided by you. Additionally, the pictures which accompanied the post were merely used to pictorially depict yachts in general. Reply to Para 2: The contents of Para 2 are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Your statement that, “there was no party on belvedere”, is specifically denied by Our Client as false. The incident has been described as a, “wine-and-cheese party” even in the above mentioned Indian Express article. It is also pertinent to state in this paragraph your Clients have neither denied the raid by the Customs Inspectors on the Belvedere vessel or the subsequent arrest of Mr. Gautama Dutta. You clients statement that, Mr. Gautama Dutta has never been accused or charged with the misappropriating of any funds is denied as false. It is pertinent to mention that Our Client does not state in the part of the Blogpost under reply that whether the misappropriation of funds was from government sources or not. Further reference is made to the certain documents mentioned below to substantiate Our Client’s statements:
- Notice for hearing at issued by the Yachting Association of India (YAI) to Mr. Gautama Dutta dated December 31, 2007 to appear before the disciplinary committee for the non-submission of bills and the non-refund of unutilized YAI funds for a period exceeding 32 months.
- Minutes of YAI Disciplinary Committee meeting held on January 21, 2008 which clearly record on Para 15 that, “not satisfied with the defense presented by Lt. Col Gautama Dutta (Retd), the committee recommended the following actions…. (a) initiate criminal and civil proceedings for case of non-submission of accounts and refund of unutilized amount with interest i.e. Rs. 14,71, 909.82 in connection with participation in Laser European Circuit during Mar-Apr 2005…”; and
- Letter by Admiral Monty Khanna to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports dated January 18, 2012 which notes and reports the abovementioned matter.
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