Vishweshwar Bhat, Kannada Paper Editor, Faces FIR For 'Malicious News Report' on HD Deve Gowda's Grandsons
File image of HD Deve Gowda (Photo Credits: PTI)

Bengaluru, May 28: An FIR has been registered against Vishweshwar Bhat, the editor of a Kannada daily 'Vishwavani', for publishing a "malicious and fake" news report allegedly aimed at defaming the Gowda family. The complainant claimed that the editor was politically motivated and published an unverified story to "assassinate the character" of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda's grandsons.

According to the complaint filed by Janata Dal (Secular) state secretary S P Pradeep Kumar, the newspaper, 'Vishwavani', had published a "false report" on Saturday, which created an impression that there was commotion and confusion among Gowda's grandchildren. Kumaraswamy Hits Out at News Channels For Ridiculing Politicians, Wants Law to Regulate Media

The complaint was filed on Sunday by Janata Dal (Secular) state secretary S P Pradeep Kumar. As per the FIR, the paper's editor and the editorial staff have been booked under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 499 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Kumar said the report stated that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, reportedly shouted at his grandfather, Deve Gowda, holding him responsible for his defeat at the hands of a woman in Mandya.

Nikhil had lost to actor Sumalatha Ambareesh, an Independent candidate backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, by over one lakh votes.

Reacting to the FIR, Bhat said the report was a source-based story and if anybody had any objection, they could have issued a clarification, which, he said, the paper would have carried diligently as it had done in the past.

"I am not able to figure out which state we are living in. I have been an editor for the past 19 years and never ever has such an incident happened," Bhat said. "At the most, a defamation case can be registered, but registering an FIR is like setting a new precedent. I will definitely challenge it in court."

Gowda's another grandson, Prajwal Revanna, who won from Hassan, and Congress candidate D K Suresh were the only leaders of the ruling coalition who won. Of the 28 seats in the state, the BJP bagged 25.

(With PTI inputs)