Criminal defamation complaint against me frivolous says Shashi Tharoor

Vastavam web: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday termed as “frivolous” the criminal defamation complaint filed by the BJP against him in a Delhi court and alleged that it was an attempt to “throttle the freedom of expression”. Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar filed the complaint against Tharoor’s alleged “scorpion” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said his religious sentiments were hurt by the statement.

Tharoor had stoked a fresh controversy Sunday while speaking at Bangalore Literature Festival, claiming that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”. Reacting to it, Tharoor told reporters, “The charges are frivolous If we start to stifle the right of the people to quote published material then where would our democracy head ?… Where is the freedom of expression ?” Asked whether he felt the criminal defamation suit against him “is an attempt to throttle his voice”, the Congress MP said, “Apparently it seems so”.

Tharoor said he had quoted an article published in a magazine in 2012 in which a comment of an unnamed RSS leader had been mentioned. “So why has this defamation suit been filed against me now? In my book, I as a writer had quoted 5,000 other examples and stories,” he said. Tharoor said he did not believe that he had done anything wrong or out of the ordinary and any author would have felt free to quote such published material in writing. “I have also quoted Mr Modi’s authorized biography by Andy Marino quite extensively. So it is not as if the 500-page book can be reduced to one line which this particular complainant doesn’t like,” Tharoor, also a writer and former diplomat, said. “I am surprised to hear about the defamation suit. I hope the judge will throw it out on the grounds that this is the actual fact. But if not then certainly we have to defend it,” he asserted.