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Kripa to Sena chief: Say sorry or face Rs 10-crore defamation suit

Cong leader says reports in Sena mouthpiece on wealth accumulated by him not based on facts, sends legal notice

A string of reports in Saamna, the mouthpiece of the Shiv Sena, on the accumulation of wealth by city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh over the years has so irked the politician that he is alleging defamation.

 
Congress city unit chief Kripashankar Singh and Shiv Sena
supremo Bal Thackeray


Singh's lawyer yesterday sent a legal notice to the editor, the executive editor and the publisher of Saamna for running reports since Tuesday that defamed Singh by making incorrect claims about his and his family members' bank accounts, properties and business interests, said a press release from the Congress.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is the editor of Saamna, while party leaders Sanjay Raut and Subhash Desai are the executive editor and the publisher of the paper, respectively.

According to the press release, the legal notice warns that Singh will file a Rs 10-crore defamation suit against Thackeray if Saamna does not publish articles negating its previous reports.

Singh also demanded that Thackeray, Raut and Desai apologise to him. The release claims the reports in Saamna had no basis in truth and were published with a view to give the Shiv Sena an advantage in the upcoming elections.

Election heat
The reports have been published at a time when campaigning for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election is at its peak. The civic election is to be held on February 16.

Pointing to a front-page report on Tuesday in Saamna that said Singh and members of his family have "18 bank accounts with transactions touching (Rs) 100 crore", the release said the newspaper did not seek the Congress politician's side of the story. It said the paper also did not bother to check with him or the banks regarding the pendency of the matter in the high court.

Regarding a front-page report on Wednesday that said Singh went from a hut to "building a tower of benami properties" and that there were properties worth "(Rs) 350 crore in Mumbai, Jaunpur, Jharkhand", the release said Saamna published a list of properties that allegedly were either in Singh's name or were his benami properties.
 
The release said that apart from one flat in Sai Prasad Co-operative Society, Singh had no connection with the other properties, which were legitimately acquired by his relatives. The release added that on Thursday Saamna incorrectly reported that Singh's grandson Shivam was the owner of the industrial group known as KGB.
 
It said the report also gave a list of 18 cars owned by Singh with the registration numbers of the vehicles even though he had no connection with any of the cars apart from one owned by his daughter and another owned by the Congress party.

The release said the report was published without taking the effort to ascertain whether the company mentioned was actually owned by Singh's grandson or to find find out who owned the vehicles mentioned in it.
Desai and Raut were not available for comment despite repeated attempts to reach them on the phone.

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