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3

At 3am on the night of April 7, 2016, restaurant and bar Mumbai Darbar was still running, in violation of the law, which states that restaurants and bars must shut by midnight. Police Inspector Shubada Chavan, attached to NM Joshi Marg police station noticed this and decided to book it for running beyond permissible timings. Her subordinate Sandeep Shirke along with three friends was drinking in the bar at that time and abused her verbally in public.

Hoping to avoid an unnecessary scene showing a policeman in bad light, Inspector Shubada ignored his misbehavior returned to the police station to complete the booking procedure. An inebriated Sandeep Shirke followed her back to the police station and continued to hurl abuse and insult her in front of the police station staff who tried and failed to reason with him.

He even offered to pay her the fine money himself to drop action against the Hotel. When she refused, he lost his temper and started hurling furniture around and insulting her and creating a nuisance in the public station to the point his colleagues decided to book him for obstructing a police officer from carrying out her duty. At this point he fled from the police station.

In further irony, when journalist Dharmesh Thakkar, who broke this story on Twitter tweeted about it, the official Mumbai Police handle requested him to file a complaint on a link they provided. Let us understand this - Mumbai Police needs citizens to file complaints when their police officers are harassed, publicly insulted and prevented from working? Is this a JOKE?

While it is admirable that Police Inspector Shubada Chavan's colleagues did eventually decide to take action against the inebriated and misbehaving cop, what is worrisome is that she had to face this from someone who is subordinate to her. We have, in the past seen many instances of police attitudes towards women being derogatory. We have also seen many instances of women police being misbehaved with by mobs or individuals.

It is concerning when a police officer on a night shift can be undermined and humiliated for carrying out her duty. Mumbai Police seems reluctant to speak on the matter while assuring that an ACP has looked into it and has recommended action against the errant officer.

We do hope that Mumbai Police also has a problem with their staff patronizing establishments in violation of the law instead of taking action against them - in addition to actions for his behavior against Inspector Chavan and other police staff as well as preventing her from carrying out her duty.

Initial news was that journalists covering a raid on a ladies bar got attacked by bar goons. Later, another journalist was found murdered in the morning. seems to have mostly skipped over the story in spite of very recent outrage over attacks on journalists.

With the assistance of Dharmesh Thakkar, I have tried to piece together the events around the attacks to understand what really went down.

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles="true"]White House dance bar, attacks on journalists Santosh Mishra and Shashi Sharma and Raghavendra Dube's [/tweetthis]

Facts of the case as we understood from various sources including the three videos in the list below:

  • According to Shashi Sharma: Around 12:15am, Shashi Sharma got a phone call from Santosh Mishra of Headlines saying that there was a police raid at the White House Ladies Bar and fourteen girls had been rescued including some minors. Santosh said that the situation could be covered up and asked him to come to cover it along with him. He informed some other colleagues. Anil Nautiyal came with them, while another person Ramesh said he would follow later.
  • According to an unofficial police source, Anil Nautiyal was present in the bar when the police arrived and he called Shashi Sharma, who called Santosh Mishra.
  • Shashi Sharma, Khushboo Times
    Shashi Sharma, journalist at Khushboo Times assaulted by staffers of White house dance bar

    Also as per Shashi Sharma: When they approached the bar, the raid was in progress. As the police entered, Ganesh Kamath, the owner of the bar exited. He threw a glass with some drink in it at Santosh Mishra and his staff started attacking him. A constable was present when this happened.

  • According to Shashi Sharma, Santosh Mishra tried to escape towards Kashimira chased by five or six people. When he tried to intervene, two came at him. He ran away but had gone barely half a kilometer before he was trapped from both sides by 10-12 people and thrashed. There were no police where he was beaten.
  • Anil Nautiyal escaped safely.
  • After that, he went to the police and got a memo for medical care (?) He also got a boke to use from one of them, which he took to a friend's home in order to obtain a spare phone to put his SIM into to call for help, as his phone was broken in the assault. Two of his friends then took him to the Indira Gandhi Civic Hospital in Mira Road.
  • Bharat Mishra, local journalist from Mira Road
    Bharat Mishra, local journalist from Mira Road

    In the meanwhile, other journalists had gathered at the and were demanding the arrest of the bar owner. The police claim that they were instigated by Bharat Mishra, another local journalist with cases of extortion, blackmailing and assault on a Railway TC against him, who wanted the bar owner arrested for his own agendas related to extortion. (The off the records, "open secret" accusation is that journalists pressurize businesses to place advertisements in their publications)

  • There was also a crowd of bar owners and staffers at the police station as per various news reports.
  • After this, Raghavendra Dube of Khushbu times was summoned by the Deputy Superintendent of Rural Police, Subhash Bauche, according to his family and the two journalists. The police claim that Bharat Mishra called Raghavendra Dube to the police station to add pressure on the police to make arrests. The journalists and Raghavendra Dube's family claim that he was summoned to the police station by the police. Another off the record statement by police says that he was summoned because Santosh Mishra and Shashi Sharma were untraceable, which is questioned by Shashi Sharma in the video, saying that he got the memo for medical care and a bike from the police and was admitted to hospital and that the police knew where he was. However it is true that Santosh Mishra was missing, though the police apparently made no efforts to save him or find him.
  • Santosh Mishra, editor, Mumbai Headlines
    Santosh Mishra, senior journalist and editor, Mumbai Headlines was assaulted, held captive and threatened with murder by the staff of White House.

    Santosh Mishra, in an interview to DNA describes his ordeal. "I was dragged to the first floor of the bar. The staffers took turns to thrash me with belts, sticks, and rained blows," His ordeal was to last several hours while Raghavendra Dube was summoned and later murdered. His captors who were in constant touch with the bar owner on phone, clearly knew about the murder as he was threatened "Dube ko parcel kar diya hai upar, aur ab teri baari hai (we have dispatched Dube up, it's your turn now)," Another said "Ab tujhe coma mai jaana hai ya direct upar (are you ready to go into a coma or directly die)." He had no idea what was going on outside the bar till then.

  • After these threats, Santosh Mishra was taken in a car by three men who were planning to kill and dump him on the highway, but they got a call from the bar owner who told them not to harm him (probably in response to the rising pressure from local journalists over his disappearance). After this call, his attackers apologized to him and let him off at Kashimira claiming mistaken identity. He was admitted to Bhaktivedanta hospital and later moved to JJ Hospital.
  • At some point around this time, Raghavendra Dube's body was found near S K Stone on the Mira-Bhayander road lying in a pool of blood with severe injury marks.
Raghavendra Dube's body dumped near S K Stone on Mira Bhayandar road
Raghavendra Dube's body dumped near S K Stone on Mira Bhayander road

Some facts seem indisputable:

  • An illegal dance bar was operating and the police had not just not arrested the owner who was present at the premises when they raided, but actually were angry about demands for arresting him.
  • At least one journalist was assaulted in the presence of the police, and yet there appears to be no effort to assist or rescue him on the behalf of the police when he was attacked.
  • The police seem to have walked away from their supposed raid, not just without arresting anyone, but while violence was in progress.
  • The owner of the bar still does not appear to be arrested in spite of the shocking statements by Santosh Mishra about him being detained and tortured on the first floor of the premises and his attackers not only being in constant touch with Ganesh Kamath, but also threatening him with a fate similar to Raghavendra Dube and then letting him go after a call from him as pressure rose from journalists to arrest him.
  • Whatever the motives of the journalists to demand the arrest of the bar owner, their pressure for his arrest possibly saved Santosh Mishra's life by threatening the clear impunity the owner of the bar appeared to enjoy, as seen from both his not being arrested as well as the complete lawlessness in his own actions and those of his men during and after a police raid where they were caught red handed running an illegal ladies bar.

There are several serious questions that remain unanswered.

  • The police have no specific explanation for why they "raided" the bar without resistance, but journalists covering it got assaulted and how it is possible that journalists assaulted while covering a raid went unnoticed and unassisted by the police. It is unclear what sort of a raid leaves the premises in control of those operating the business to the point where a person can be held captive and tortured without the "raiding" police being aware of it.
  • It is unclear what, if any efforts were made by the police to find the missing journalist whom they had witnessed being assaulted, till he was released by the staff of White House.
  • It is clear that the White House ladies/dance bar was operating illegally and with the of the police who apparently had not arrested the owner in spite of "raiding" the premises and rescuing girls and witnessing him kicking off the on one of the journalists and in fact appear to blame the reporters for wanting him arrested because he refused them advertising revenue. Has Ganesh Kamath been arrested even now? What is the action that resulted from this supposed raid (if it was not to collect hafta, as accused by local journalists)?
  • What happened of the fourteen girls supposedly rescued, including minors? Where are they now? And a few other questions with regard to women police being present while they were taken into custody, etc.
  • With journalists already raising a ruckus at the police station demanding the arrest of the bar owner, it is unclear why Raghavendra Dube specifically had to be called, when he had not been anywhere near the raid and subsequent attack.
  • There are repeated references to "bar owners" being at the police station after the raid, and one of those allegedly arrested for the attacks, Mahesh Shetty has another (beer) bar called Love Bird in Mira Road. Why would owners of other bars be at the police station over a raid on one bar, that too, in the middle of the night?
  • Why would the owner of a bar not only go out of his way to go to the police station after a raid on another bar, but be involved in committing murder of a journalist not even involved in the raid? Another article in the DNA implies that it was a of opportunity. That Mahesh Shetty wanted to kill him because he often alerted police to the presence of illegal dance bars in the area. Is Mahesh Shetty's bar a dance bar as well or was this a humanitarian mission on behalf of downtrodden dance bar owners?
  • UPDATE: Another piece in the DNA provides more details that Dube left the police station in the company of two waiters from the hotel who were waylaid by Mahesh Shetty's men armed with choppers who killed Dube. The two men escaped with the determination to bring the culprits to book. (Strangely, they seem to have taken their own time about it. Also, Dube being friends and getting into a rickshaw with the staff of a hotel who had attacked his colleagues, after apparently arguing for the arrest of the owner in the police station seems very... gullible?)
  • Also, how would Mahesh Shetty know or be present when Raghavendra Dube left the police station if it wasn't his bar raided? How did Ganesh Kamath's staff, who were holding Santosh Mishra captive know about Raghavendra Dube's murder, if Mahesh Shetty did it to get away with the crime while pointing the finger of blame at White House? Is Mahesh Shetty in the habit of confessing his crimes to those he is trying to frame?
  • How did Mahesh Shetty get Raghavendra Dube to come to the police station, if indeed it is him who conspired to kill Dube?
  • How is it that an aggressive Bharat Mishra and other journalists at the police station demanding the arrest of the bar owners were not attacked, but Raghavendra Dube who was not even present there till specifically called was murdered immediately on leaving the police station?

There is clearly more concealed than revealed in this case, and questions must be raised about the strange reluctance of the police to see a man who owns an illegal bar and who assaulted a journalist in their presence arrested, the mysterious raid with no apparent harm to anyone and more.

[tweetthis twitter_handles="@vidyut @news_houndz @_AamJanata"]Who killed Rahavendra Dube?[/tweetthis]

But who will bell the cat? Media seems to have moved on to the next scandal.

8

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 PREGUDICE

To,

Brus Chambers

8, Rajabahadur Mansion, 3rd Floor,

Ambalal Doshi Marg, Fort, Mumbai 400001, India

Email:

(1) contact@bruschambers.com

(2) newdelhi@bruschambers.com

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)

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:

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Letter by Admiral Monty Khanna to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports dated January 18, 2012 which notes and reports the abovementioned matter.

Also your Clients statement that, “Maj Gen S Dutta (retd) is not working with any reliance or ADAG companies” is untenable and contrary to the information put out by your Clients company website. YOur Clients company webpage at http://www.marina-india.com/team.htm states under the category, “Chairman – Major General S Dutta VSM” that, “[p]resently he is a senior vice president of Reliance ADAG, responsible for all construction activities.” In any case Major General S Dutta has not been identified by you as your Client and hence it is not understood how a response can be sent on his behalf. Inter alia, this clearly demonstrates the frivolous and the careless manner in which a legal notice has been sent to Our Client to pressure her to remove the Blogpost.

Reply to Para 3. The contents of Para 3 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. It is restated that you in your notice dated May 10, 2012 and notice dated May 16, 2012 have only stated that you have been engaged by Lt Col (Retd) Gautama Dutta and Anju Dutta in their personal capacity and not as owners or employees of Marine Solutions which forms a distinct and separate entity. Hence, it is not understood on what basis, claims and clarifications on behalf of Marine Solutions being made in your notices. Moreover, the imputations which flow from your Clients response is that Our Client has incorrectly stated that the yachts which are imported by Your Client are also owned by it, however Our Client has nowhere stated that the Your Clients owns the yachts and has only stated that out of 42 vessels imported by Marine Solutions, 36 are not been registered. It is also pertinent to point out the statements made by Our Client should be seen in the context of proceedings against Marine Solutions on issues of multiple registrations for the vessel ISOLA. This is clearly recorded as per a letter dated April 20, 2012 from the Office of the Chief Surveyor and Marine Engineer, Maharashtra Maritime Board.

Reply to Para 4. The contents of Para 4 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. It is further stated that, your Clients statement that, “the allegation that Lt Col Dutta received any amount / commissions from the foreign supplier of such boats and/ or that the firm of marine solutions was used as a conduit for receiving any such funds is totally incorrect and false” does not deny the factum that an allegation exists on record as to the improper purchases of receipt of commissions for the Supply of such boats. These allegations are interalia contained in a report dated June 03, 2005 written by Commodore Amarjit Singh Bajwa and addressed to the President of YAI (hereinafter the Bajwa Report). The contents of the report are not being extracted or quoted since this report has not been previously published publicly; However Our Client reserves its rights to do so at a later stage. Moreover it is pertinent to note that Our Client has only stated in the Blogpost that, “[t]here were allegations that Gautam Duttta…” rather than making any positive statement on these allegations. The factum of the existence of these allegations is undisputed and appears from the Bajwa Report which has been referred in this paragraph.

Reply to Para 5. The contents of Para 5 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. The statement, that your Client, “Lt Col (Retd) Gautama Dutta is not aware of any report of a financial impropriety involving him” is incorrect and false. The documents stated in the Reply to Para No. 2 clearly record copies being dispatched to your Client. The Minutes of the YAI Disciplinary Committee meeting held on January 21, 2008 even record your Clients presence. Additionally there is a news report in The Times Of India dated 22.12.2008 relating to Tian yatch pursuant to which a show cause notice dated --.02.2011 bearing reference number CIU/GEN/Misc-109/2008 was issued by the Commissioner of Customs to your Clients for the evasion of duty payable to the tune of Rs. 28 Crores. With respect to your Clients statement that they were, “not part of the Indian team that participated in the above mentioned international event in Birmingham and the Ireland Enterprise Worlds 2004”, Our Client it has inadvertently referred to the Ireland Enterprise Worlds 2004 instead of Laser Class European Circuit 2005. All statements otherwise with respect to this are accurate as it emanates from the Bajwa Report.

Reply to Para 6. The contents of Para 6 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Here it is pertinent to mention that as per the response of Swati Girls Hostel located at AFI building, near Bombay Hospital, Dhobi Talao, Mumbai, your Client’s name appears in the hostel register as being the legal guardian of Lt Gen Tejinder Singh’s daughter Ms. Nahiya from the year 2003 to 2006. As per your Clients statement, that, “Gautam Dutta’s YAI membership was not terminated”, it is stated that the Letter dated January 18, 2012 by Admiral Monty Khanna to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports clearly records, “In addition, in the case of Lt. Col. (Retd) Gautama Dutta, a decision has been taken by the YAI General Body to terminate his Life Associate Membership of the YAI”.

Reply to Para 7. The contents of Para 7 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Our client has never stated that your Clients are guilty or have been convicted of any offences and has merely stated that accusations have been made for financial impropriety against your Clients. This has been established on the basis of various documents which have been referred in the reply to various paragraphs of your notice above.

Reply to Para 8. The contents of Para 8 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Our client is in the possession of the harbour craft license of MB Godiva (BDR - IV - 01546 ) dated November 16, 2010 issued by the Mumbai Port Trust which clearly prohibits commercial use of the motor boat. Hence it is not understood, how the “requisite permissions” could be taken with respect to purported trip on the MB Godiva to, “take a few Warburg Pincus executives to JNPT”. Moreover, the Hindustan Times article referred by you as absolving all blame, clearly points to the contrary as it states, “Shete said, ‘The men did not have the requisite permission for landing at the JNPT jetty though. On confirming that they were on an official visit, permission was given to them.’”

Reply to Para 9. The contents of Para 9 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. The contents of the Blogpost which have been referred to in this paragraph are concerned directly with the absence of permissions for the vessel ISOLA. In this respect the Reply to Para No. 3 may be referred to. It is also pertinent to state that Our Client is not concerned or connected with Mr. Dharmesh Thakkar and claims, if any, may be taken up by your Clients directly with him.

Reply to Para 10. The contents of Para 10 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Since your Clients are not the Times of India group it is not understood how claims are sought to be made in your notice on their behalf. It is also restated that the contents of the Blogpost are accurate and constitute fair comment on issues of public interest which are based on documentary evidences.

Reply to Para 11. The contents of Para 11 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Our Client states that the Belvedere vessel is a SeaRay Sundancer 330 which has the capacity to stock the alcohol as mentioned in the Blogpost. This is clear from the marketing material of the SeaRay Sundancer 330 which mentions extra large wet bar.

 

Reply to Para 12. The contents of Para 12 are false and are denied and the contents of the Blogpost under reply are restated. Our client has only stated, “politician” (in the singular) and not “politicians” (in the plural) as has been stated by your Clients. Our Client has definite information as to the name of this politician however at its option is not disclosing it at present.

 

Reply to Para 13. The contents of Para 13 are false and are denied and the contents of the entire Blogpost are restated. Our client has not made any statements recklessly and scurrilously with a view to defame your Clients. The contents of the Blogpost emanate interalia out of documents which have been referred to in this reply and are clearly in public interest. These documents and references are due to the meticulous research carried out by Our Client. Additionally, Our Client has published your Notice dated 10.05.2012 prominently on its Blog to present a fair and balanced view of the entire matter, however at the same time this does not in any way constitute an admission.

D. Even though the notice dated 16.05.2012 does not contain para numbers we have numbered them for convenience in respect of which kindly find a parawise reply to your legal notice as under:

Paragraph 1 “This has reference to the article “Sailgate: The Party that Wasn’t – contributed by: Vidyut Kale” on May 8, 2012” published on your webpage/blog under the name “Aam Janata” i.e www.aamjanata.com wherein you have published defamatory article which is baseless and twisted with the intent to sensationalise and the same is to your notice.”

Reply to Para 1. The contents of Para 1 are denied to the extent that the Blogpost is denied to be defamatory, baseless and twister with the intent to sensationalise. In this respect the contents of the Reply to the Notice dated 10.05.2012 which are stated above may be referred.

Paragraph 2 “We note that till May 15, 2012 the article yet remains on your site and that your site and that our notice dated May 10, 2012 to you has been published in your site and no apology tendered.”

Reply to Para 2. The contents of Para 2 are denied as false. The Notice dated May 10, 2012 was only served on Our Client on May 15, 2012 and your client is put strict proof in case it pleads service earlier to that date. On receipt of the notice dated May 10, 2012 on May 15, 2012 Our Client prominently published the notice the notice on its website on the following URL (https://aamjanata.com/sailgate-letter-from-the-solicitors-of-lt-col-retd-gautama-dutta-and-anju-dutta/). Further, the notice dated May 10, 2012 does not at any place request an apology from Our Client.

Paragraph 3 “As per Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011. Rule 3 which reads as….. [Extracts Rule 3 which is omitted]”

Reply to Para 3. The contents of Para 3 are not denied in as much Rule 3, Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011 is quoted. However, it is not understood as to how Your Clients have sent a notice dated May 10, 2012 claiming Our Client claiming to be the author of the Blogpost and is then latter relied upon the abovementioned rules to then claim that Our Client is also an intermediary. Both these positions are inconsistent as a person can either be an Author or an Intermediary.

Paragraph 4 “We request you for the immediate removal of the said article/publication – Sailgate: The Party that Wasn’t – contributed by: Vidyut Kale under rule 3(3)(b) Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011 failing which our clients deem the same to be done knowingly hosted and published by you albeit with malicious intent.”

Reply to Para 4. The contents of Para 4 are false and are denied. However, Our Client has taken down the Blogpost within 36 hours of receipt of this notice with a view to bring a closure to the matter. Since your notice identifies Our Client as an intermediary, consequent to the takedown it now is exempted from any liability under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

E With a view to bring a closure to the matter Our Client has already taken down the Blogpost on 15.05.2012 and has also prominently published the legal notice dated 10.05.2012 as requested by your Clients. Kindly note that this is without prejudice to Our Client’s rights and in does not in any way constitute as an admission. These actions are conditional on your Clients agreeing to withdraw your legal notices dated 10.05.2012 and 15.05.2012 immediately. Our Client would like to state that it will not be apologizing for authoring the Blogpost since it was in the public good and constitutes fair comment. Moreover, since Our Client has prominently published the legal notice dated 10.05.2012 on its Blog it is reserving its rights to publish this reply in order to present a fair and balanced view of the entire matter.

F. In view of the above, you are hereby called upon to withdraw your legal notices dated 10.05.2012 and 15.05.2012 immediately. In case you initiate any legal proceedings against Our Clients, based on the facts stated in the said legal notice, the same may be initiated at the peril and cost of your Client and shall be dealt with by Our Clients as advised. Please take notice and advise your Client accordingly.

Yours faithfully,

[APAR GUPTA]

PARTNER

4

So today Dharmesh Thakker who was mentioned in the notice by the solicitors of Lt Col (retd) Gautam Dutta and Anju Dutta on my post has sent me a notice complaining about defamation of him by them. This is his side of things.

=====================================================

Notice for posting defamatory references

Dear Ms Vidyut Kale,

It has been brought to my attention that a legal notice posted on your blog AamJanata (www.aamjanata.com) sent by the legal advisors and counsels of Lt Col (rtd) Gautam Dutta and Anju Dutta makes defamatory references against me.

The legal notice posted on your blog Aam Janata is defamatory with malafide intentions to tarnish my name and strong arm tactics to silence me from exposing their illegal activities. They are by no means the only people I expose and their claim that this as a deliberate targeting is false. As an journalist and RTI activist, I have a keen interest in exposing corruption.

The notice mentions my name thrice blaming me for legal action by authorities on their yacht/boat operations. The wild and baseless allegations are an attempt to discredit and defame me. I would like to inform you that even if a whistle blower does alert authorities, the authorities do not arrest or detain anyone just because someone sent a tip or whatever way the information is conveyed. If nothing illegal is found – they cannot do anything. To blame me for legal actions against their business or themselves, is absurd.

Request and demand to give equal prominence to my notice as you have published theirs. As a supporter of Freedom of Speech, I do not demand that their defamatory words about me be removed, but my response should also be visible prominently

I have built my reputation and career over 14 years of unbiased reporting without fear and favor. The numerous testimonials from media legends speaks about my work and credibility.

Riz Khan

 (client)
Riz hired you as a Freelance Journalist in 2005 and hired you more than once

Top qualities: Personable, Expert, Good Value

“Dharmesh is passionate about getting results and has a remarkable contact base in Mumbai and other parts of India. He is genuinely dedicated and persistent.” October 5, 2009

Ram Ramgopal

 (client)
Ram hired you as a Freelance Producer in 2003 and hired you more than once

Top qualities: Personable, High Integrity, Creative

“I have worked with Dharmesh Thakkar on several occasions when he helped as a producer on the ground in Mumbai. I have always found he is full of story ideas and suggests creative treatments for spot news and investigative pieces. Furthermore, he knows what kind of stories will appeal to an international audience. His rolodex is impressive, and he's helped set up interviews and shoots on short notice -- whether it's for entertainment, crime or business stories. Dharmesh is very quick when it comes to passing on information, but he also values accuracy. In fact, it's that aspect that has impressed me the most: his editorial fidelity. He has often helped us trump even Indian networks on getting out accurate (and timely) reports.I wholeheartedly recommend Dharmesh for any field producing/assignment desk job.” October 6, 2009

 

Ben Barnier

, Journalist - since June 2006, ABC News (business partner)
was with another company when working with you

“Dharmesh was instrumental in helping our ABC News team cover features in Mumbai. He was helpful, knowledgeable and witty. Thanks to his contribution we put together a colorful profile of an elderly Mumbai Bollywood Painter. http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=3231079” November 29, 2009

 

Adam Woods

 (client)
Adam hired you as a General Contractor in 2008

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, On Time

“Dharmesh co-ordinated a complicated TV commercial shoot for me shooting in Mumbai, helping arrange high-level permissions to shoot in airport, and other sensitive areas, and had the contacts on the ground to ensure the shoot went very smoothly.” October 13, 2010

James Wright

, Executive Producer, Al Jazeera English (colleague)
worked directly with you

“Darmesh worked with our team on a freelance basis while we were covering stories in Mumbai. Darmesh has great contacts and was pro-active in coordinating with us to get us top guests for the show. It was a real asset to have a Mumbai "insider" working with us and we were able to accomplish things we wouldn't have been able to without his support” October 30, 2009

Sohail (So) Rahman

 (client)
Sohail (So) hired you as a Writer/Editor in 2006 and hired you more than once

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert

“Dharmesh has acted as a fixer for my shoots in the Maharashtra state in India. Incredibly knowledgeable and always on time he is a very enthusiastic producer who is consistently on top of the story and the elements required for it. It also helps that he's a nice guy with good sense of fun especially when this industry can be stressful.” May 15, 2012

 

 

Yogesh Damle

, Correspondent, Asst. Output editor, NDTV (colleague)
worked with you

“Though Dharmesh and I worked for different channels within the organisation, Dharmesh's prowess has consistently been a subject of admiration. His source-building, news sense and enterprise are exemplary attributes. His numerous exclusives testify his mettle.” January 20, 2010

 

 

 

Prasad Ramamurthy

, Sr News Editor, NDTV (colleague)

 

managed you

“Dharmesh was part of the reporter pool that I managed. He was one of our lead crime reporters and did his job with great responsibility and sincerity. He is enthusiastic and generates ideas beyond the scope of his own work. I was impressed by his ability to source information, often days ahead of the competition. Dharmesh will be an asset to any organisation he works with" Regards, Prasad January 8, 2010

 

 

 

Ruhi Khan

, Principal Correspondent, NDTV (colleague)
worked directly with you

“It was great fun to work with Dharmesh at NDTV. He has a good news sense and incredible contacts in diverse fields, which he is always willing to share with others. He was also fantastic with fixing up shoots/bytes in pace with the demands of TV news reporting. I’m sure he would excel in a journalist/consulting role and be an asset to any organisation.” May 2, 2012

Rajeev Dikshit

, HOD operations, Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt. Ltd (colleague)
worked with you

“I have had a great time working with Dharmesh at TV 9 Mumbai; he is always on the move, hyper active, & full of energy. He is a focused person, always willing to take responsibility.Dharmesh is a dedicated and very organized worker. He is a very capable media professional with keen eye on detail. I wish him all the best for the future.” April 11, 2010

Ishan Choudhary

, Producer-Input, Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt. Ltd (colleague)
worked directly with you

“It is tough to find easy going seniors, especially when you join a new environment. For his experience, Dharmesh bhai is very down to earth and an extremely resourceful and multi-faceted professional. He does not hesitate to share information which usually other journalists try to pass off as exclusive or breaking and is a very accessible senior. He is an efficient man manager and has a knack of accessing information at first go other than anyone else. It is a good learning experience to be working alongside him.” May 18, 2011--

dharmesh

(Dharmesh Thakker)