Six Ministers seek injunction orders on media from ‘defamatory content’

They see ‘political conspiracy’ to conduct ‘smear campaign’

Six Ministers – all recent defectors from Congress and JD(S) to BJP – have sought injunction orders from the city court against publication of any defamatory content against them. This comes days after a video allegedly showing the intimate moments of Ramesh Jarkiholi with a woman was leaked to the media, forcing him to resign as Minister, and amidst speculations and claims by a few activists of more such incriminating CDs in existence, raising eyebrows. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google have been made parties in the petitions apart from a long list of media houses in the State.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar, Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil, Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj, Cooperation Minister S.T. Somashekhar and Youth and Sports Minister K.C. Narayana Gowda approached the court on Friday.

Dr. Sudhakar alleged a “political conspiracy” was underway to carry out a smear campaign against them with false accusations, misusing the media. “In Mr. Ramesh Jarkiholi’s case, why hasn’t the woman or her family come forward even after three days? With today’s technological advances, anyone can be falsely targeted. If they have a case anyone can go to the courts. But people are indulging in hit-and-run attacks tarnishing our image built by several years of hard work. This is immoral and illegal,” he said defending his application seeking a gag order.

He said more Ministers were likely to approach courts seeking similar injunctions. Not only that, he said the State government was considering promulgating a strong law to prevent such “false and malicious attacks”. “We have discussed it with the Chief Minister and the Law Minister already. This has become a new trend, blackmailing and tarnishing the image of a person in public life with false accusations. This needs to stop.”

Mr. B.C. Patil, who has also sought a gag order, tweeted that this was only a precautionary measure to prevent a defamatory campaign against him as part of a political conspiracy.

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