'Nakkheeran' crossed all limits: TN guv's office

Gopal was arrested under Section 124 of the IPC that deals with “assault on the President of India or Governors” on Tuesday for publishing series of articles linking the governor’s office with a woman professor accused of luring girls to give sexual favours to “top officials” on Tuesday.

Justifying the case against senior journalist R R Gopal, a statement issued by the Tamil Nadu Raj Bhawan on Friday accused Nakkheeran, the magazine owned by him, of practising “yellow journalism”.

The Raj Bhawan stated that the articles published by Nakkheeran shows the “height of casualness and cowardice in journalistic ethics”.

The statement, which gave clear hints that the Raj Bhawan is still unfazed, said no threats direct or indirect on a constitutional authority as the honourable governor (Banwarilal Purohit) will be tolerated and that the Raj Bhavan “can and will never be cowed down” by actions aimed at hurting the dignity of the high office.

Gopal was arrested under Section 124 of the IPC that deals with “assault on the President of India or Governors” on Tuesday for publishing series of articles linking the governor’s office with a woman professor accused of luring girls to give sexual favours to “top officials” on Tuesday. However, a magisterial court ordered his release.

With Opposition parties and journalists slamming the Raj Bhawan for invoking a seldom-used section, the governor’s office went on a philosophical overdrive by invoking legends of the Tamil land from saint Tiruvalluvar to A P J Abdul Kalam to ask people of Tamil Nadu to “stand by the side of righteousness, truth and goodness.”

“The truth is that Tmt. Nirmala Devi has never entered Raj Bhavan in the last one year and she does not have any acquaintance with the honourable governor or the secretary to the governor or any of the officers working in the Raj Bhavan,” the statement said.

The three-page statement, which had almost a point-by-point rebuttal to stories published by Nakkheeran, also took a swipe at politicians who have rallied behind the magazine and Gopal, saying it was a matter of regret that “utter falsehood and this kind of yellow journalism” is being supported by respectable people who, it appears, are not aware of the facts.

“Every issue has its limits and Raj Bhavan was maintaining a dignified silence for more than six months since the issue came to light since the law was taking its course and the matter was under investigation and subsequently placed before the honourable court for trial. It was indeed shocking to see a resurfacing of yellow journalism in an issue of the magazine Nakkheeran in late September after the charge sheets had been filed and all investigation completed,” it said.

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Prof Nirmala Devi was arrested on April 16 for allegedly luring college girls to give sexual favours to top officials. Immediately after her arrest, Governor Purohit appointed R Santhanam, a former bureaucrat, to go into the incident and said he has no links whatsoever to the woman professor and had never met her. He had also called as “defamatory” and “baseless” reports that he had known the woman professor.

The woman, in her conversation with the students, had said she was seeking favours for a “Governor-level official” and had referred to Purohit more than once. Though the one-member committee completed its probe, it was never made public due to a court order.

“It was a matter of humour to hear people say that press freedom is being threatened on the count, of action, being taken under the law after much patience and tolerance to stop a slanderous, vulgar and cowardly way of attacking the first citizen of the state,” the statement said.

"Those who claim to be engaged in investigative journalism have not even bothered to verify the actual statement given by Tmt. Nirmala Devi before the police. The height of casualness and cowardice in journalistic ethics had been reached with the publishing of the article.

“It can only be a deep sense of hatred towards goodness and truth that could have driven any journalist to have written the articles in the manner they appeared in the Nakkheeran. It is a matter of regret that such utter falsehood and this kind of yellow journalism is being supported by respectable people who, it appears, are not aware of the facts,” the Raj Bhawan added.

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'Nakkheeran' crossed all limits: TN guv's office

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