Mumbai: Islamic preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik has filed a Rs 500 crore defamation suit against Arnab Goswami, editor –in-chief for Times Now, for allegedly running a ‘hate campaign’ and ‘media trial’ against him. Zakir Naik has accused the channel of creating enmity and hatred between religious communities and as well as hurting the religious sentiments of Naik and the Muslim community.
Zakir Naik, who is under scanner post terror attack in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka for allegedly inspiring terrorists through his sermons. On his popular show ‘The Newshour Debate’ on Times Now, Arnab Goswami has been running stories against Zakir Naik since a report surfaced that terrorists involved in Dhaka attack were inspired by his speeches. Zakir Naik, in his press conference through Skype from Saudi Arabia, accused a section of media of carrying out media trial against him. Naik also gave an open challenge to Arnab Goswami for a debate over the allegations against him.
Advocate Mubin Solkar, on behalf of Zakir Naik, issued a legal notice against Arnab Goswami, Megha Prasad (Bureau Chief – Times Now), Avinash Kaul (Chief Executive Officer – Times Now), Sunil Lulla (Chief Executive Officer – Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd) and Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd. The defamation notice says that Arnab made false and defamatory statements against Naik on his show causing grave and irreparable damage to his reputation.
“It is you (Arnab Goswami) who is willfully without any authority carrying out a media trial and influencing the minds of the public and authority to the detriment of my client’s (Zakir Naik) interest and are malign statement without verifying records. The statements so made by you publically, is misleading and contain falsehood and half truths. You have intentionally maligned my client’s reputation. You on your television channel have started a hate campaign against my client without having knowledge of the truth which you have deliberately hidden,” the notice states.
“My client is not in a position to ascertain the actual monetary damages suffered by him for your wrongful action. However, my client for the present estimates that the damage suffered by him is estimated at an amount not less than Rs.500 crores,” says the notice. Zakir Naik has sought unconditional apology from Arnab Goswami and Times Now and asked the channel to withdraw statements made against him. Naik, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, is under the scanner of state and central agencies for his alleged incendiary speeches.