The television news anchor and consulting editor at India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai was acquitted by a Hyderabad court after he issued an apology in November last year for reporting fake news on Sohrabuddin's alleged encounter killing casereported the Bar and Bench.
Sardesai the then Editor-in-Chief of CNN-IBN had alleged on live television that the IPS officer Rajiv Trivedi, a part of the Hyderabad Special Investigation Team (SIT) investing the Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi’s encounter, had provided with fake number plates for transporting the two to Ahmedabad.
Sardesai had run a programme titled on the Sohrabuddin case titled ’30 Minutes - Sohrabuddin, The Inside Story’ in May 2017. During the programme, it was said, “Police sources say Vanjara and Pandian nabbed Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi in Bidar with the help from SP Rajiv Trivedi of the Hyderabad Special Investigation Unit…Rajiv Trivedi provided cars with fake number plates in which Sohrabuddin was brought to Ahmedabad and then killed in a fake encounter.”
The State of Andhra Pradesh had soon after registered a complaint against Sardesai and 10 other CNN-IBN reporters for tarnishing the reputation of the IPS officer Trivedi and for false reporting. The complaint was filed in a Hyderabad court.
The court had later dismissed the respondent's plea to quash the case against them in April 2011, in May 2015, the court again dismissed an SLP filed in the Supreme Court against this order.
Sardesai had issued an unconditional apology to Trivedi on November 27 last year, the affidavit stated, “I realize that there is nothing to substantiate the allegation that Vanzara and Pandian nabbed Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi in Bidar with the help from SP Rajiv Trivedi of Hyderabad, Special Investigation Unit and hence it was a false news telecast about Shri Rajiv Trivedi, IPS. I further submit that I also realise that there is nothing to substantiate the allegation that Rajiv Trivedi provided cars with fake number plates in which Sohrabuddin was brought to Ahmedabad and then killed in a fake encounter which news telecast by us about Shri Rajiv Trivedi, IPS was also false.”
After the apology, the Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Hyderabad D Hemanth Kumar passed the order of acquittal on the same day, reported the Bar and Bench.
The order stated, “A1, A2, A5, A10 to A17 filed affidavits by tendering an unconditional apology to the complainant and he accepted the same. The same is recorded.
Crl.MP.No. 1782/2019 U/sec. 320(1) of Cr.P.C heard and allowed. Hence, A.1 A.2 A.5 and A10 to A11 are found not guilty for the offence U/sec. 500 of IPC and they are acquitted for the same U/sec. 320(8) of Cr.P.C. The bail bonds if any, shall stand cancelled.”
On Tuesday, Sardesai took to Twitter to comment on the case.
"A copy of a court apology in a Sohrabuddin encounter case has been put out in social media with zero context so it’s time to clarify. yes, we at CNN IBN apologised for wrongly naming a Andhra IPS officer in the matter: the case was closed in Nov," he wrote.