Delhi High Court Order To Tehelka Tarun Tejpal To Pay Compensation 2 Crore Rupees In Sting Operation

By Neha Bhardwaj July 23, 2023 7:24 AM IST

Delhi High Court: In the year 2001, a sting by a news portal created a stir in the whole country. In Tehelka’s sting, Major General of the army was shown demanding bribe in exchange for defense deals. The person from whom the army officer had demanded bribe was an undercover journalist who had met by posing as a defense contractor. Regarding the sting, the army officer had filed a defamation case against the founder of news portal Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal and other journalists associated with it. In this case, after 22 years, now the decision of the High Court has come, in which the army officer has won.

The Delhi High Court on Saturday (July 22) ordered Major General MS Ahluwalia to pay Rs 2 crore as compensation for defamation of his reputation in a defamation case related to the sting operation. The Delhi High Court said in its order,, its owner company M/s Buffalo Communications, its owner Tarun Tej and reporters Anirudh Behl and Mathew Samuel will pay this amount to Major General MS Ahluwalia.

Apology doesn’t mean after 23 years- Court

Justice Nina Bansal Krishna, presiding over the bench hearing the case, said that this is a clear example of serious damage to the reputation of an honest military officer. He said, the apology issued after 23 years of publication has no meaning.

However, the court said the plaintiff in the case failed to prove any act of defamation on the part of Zee Telefilm Ltd. and its officers, who telecast it after entering into an agreement with Tehelka.

What was the matter?

On March 13, 2001, Tehelka published a sting operation on alleged corruption in defense deals titled ‘Operation West End’. Major General MS Ahluwalia was also shown in a part of it. In the sting, Ahluwalia was seen demanding Rs 10 lakh and expensive liquor in return for the defense deal. It was also claimed in the sting that Ahluwalia had also taken Rs 50,000 as advance.

Major General MS Ahluwalia claimed that a complete fake story was prepared in this matter by editing the video of the conversation with the reporter.

Money can be returned, not lost reputation

While giving the verdict, the court quoted the famous statement of Abraham Lincoln and said, Truth is the best remedy against slander. Yet, truth has no capacity to restore the prestige that a person loses in the eyes of a society that is always quick to judge.

The court further said, there is a bad truth that lost money can always be earned back. A stain on one’s reputation, once imprinted on one’s soul, gives nothing but damage, even if lakhs of compensation are paid for it.

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