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Kerala Govt to File Complaint Before Press Council of India on 'Defamatory Reports'

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

The decision in this regard was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to file a complaint before the Press Council of India with regard to the "defamatory reports" published by certain newspapers on the incident of a minor fire at the Secretariat here on August 25. The decision in this regard was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The government has also decided to seek legal opinion to take action against some newspapers, "which had consciously published reports that could lead to misunderstanding", a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said. Legal opinion will be sought from the Advocate General for initiating action under Section 199(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for publishing defamatory reports against those engaged in their official duties, it said.

Section 199 of CrPC deals with prosecution for defamation. "Three newspapers had reported fake news, saying some important diplomatic files connected with the gold smuggling case were destroyed in the fire," a source from the CMO said.

Targeting the CPI(M)-led state government over the fire in the state secretariat, the opposition Congress and BJP had alleged that they suspected a "sabotage" to "destroy important files" related to the sensational gold smuggling case. The opposition parties had also staged violent protests,demanding a probe into the matter.

The state government has appointed an ADGP-led probe team to investigate the matter and an expert panel to look into the technical reason behind the incident. The panel had submitted a report, suggesting short circuit as the reason behind the minor fire.

The government has maintained that none of the important files were destroyed as the state secretariat had a few years ago migrated all its files to the e-files system as part of the paperless secretariat initiative.


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