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2-min read

EC Denies Permission for Rafale Book Launch, Event Takes Place at Publisher’s Store Hours Later

The book was released in the presence of journalist and chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group N Ram and a retired lieutenant colonel.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:April 2, 2019, 9:24 PM IST
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EC Denies Permission for Rafale Book Launch, Event Takes Place at Publisher’s Store Hours Later
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Chennai: Five hours after a scheduled release of a book, titled, ‘Rafale — A Scam That Rocked The Nation’, being cancelled in Chennai, the event takes place and the authorities deny any involvement in the matter.

Earlier in the day, officers from the flying squad of the Election Commission (EC) said the book launch was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

A letter given by the returning officer to the publisher asked the latter not to go ahead with the event that was scheduled to be held at a city school.

When the school authorities denied permission for the function citing objection from the Election Commission, the publisher decided to hold the event at his office. However, he said officers on election duty had seized all the books (about 150 of them) from his book store. Five hours later, the event took place at the same book store.

The book was released in the presence of journalist and chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group N Ram and a retired lieutenant colonel.

The Election Commission denied reports of having tried to stall the event. Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Saboo said, “Neither the EC nor the chief election officer (CEO) had given any instruction regarding the seizure of books. I have directed the district election officer, Chennai, to look into this and submit a report immediately.”

The publisher and editor of Bharti Publications, PK Rajan, told News 18: “This is a book on the Rafale deal which we are publishing in Tamil. There is nothing new in it and we have not done any investigative journalism. We have only put out facts that are already there in the public domain. The book was supposed to be released on Tuesday evening. However, there was a lot of cat-and-mouse game between the EC and us during the last two-three days. I don’t know who all were involved in this. The venue of the event was fixed, but today we received a call stating the venue was not available. When we announced that the book release will take place at our own small book store, in less than half an hour, the authorities issued us a memo that we can’t conduct any function as election rules are in force. I don’t know whether there is really a rule to seek permission for a book release function.”

Rajan said when a biopic on a politician could hit the screens, why wouldn’t a book on Rafale be allowed to launch. “How does a book release alone violate the poll code? Obviously, everybody is asking the same question. A full-fledged feature film on an individual involved in the election, but a book release is being denied permission,” Rajan said.

“The book has already been sent to markets. It was only a formal launch. I think as it was supposed to be released by N Ram, the EC tried to stop the event,” Rajan added.

He said the publishing house had been releasing books ahead of elections since 2000, but this was the first time that such a drama had unfolded.
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