Justice P.T. Asha refused to entertain the journalist’s application to reject the plaint and directed him to file a written statement in the suit by September 21. She eschewed his contention that the allegations levelled by him against the Chief Minister were merely a statement of opinion and they could not be the basis for preferring a defamation suit.

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TAMIL NADU
HC dismisses plea to reject CM’s defamation suit
Legal Correspondent
CHENNAI 19 AUGUST 2020 23:31 IST
UPDATED: 19 AUGUST 2020 23:31 IST

The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea of New Delhi based journalist Mathew Samuel to reject a defamation suit preferred by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami last year seeking damages of ₹1.1 crore for having linked his name with the 2017 Kodanad estate heist-cum-murder.

Justice P.T. Asha refused to entertain the journalist’s application to reject the plaint and directed him to file a written statement in the suit by September 21. She eschewed his contention that the allegations levelled by him against the Chief Minister were merely a statement of opinion and they could not be the basis for preferring a defamation suit.

Trial in case

In the meantime, Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan has directed a Sessions Court in Nilgiris district to complete the trial in the 2017 heist-cum-murder case within three months. The direction was issued on a petition filed by one of the prosecution witnesses Santha seeking expeditious completion of the trial proceedings.

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Though the sessions court had initially granted bail to the prime accused K.V. Sayan and Valayar Manoj in the case, the bail was cancelled and they were arrested again after their interview to the journalist. They were accused of attempting to derail the trial. Justice R. Subramanian is slated to hear their bail applications on Thursday.

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