Don Salem proposes media ban, I&B ministry disposes

MUMBAI: Agreed that the Indian media has become more aggressive compared to yesteryears, but a petition filed by underworld don Abu Salem takes the cake for its sheer incongruity.

Thankfully, the Indian government is making the right noises.

Information and broadcasting ministry today urged a special court to dismiss a petition filed by extradited Salem seeking a media ban on reports about investigations relating to him and his girl friend Monica Bedi.

According to a report filed by the Press Trust of India (PTI), additional solicitor general B A Desai, appearing for the ministry, urged the court to dismiss the petition as the applicant's lawyers were absent during the hearing of the case.

However, designated TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Act under which people carrying out anti-national activities are tried) judge P D Kode adjourned the matter till 3 December for arguments.

Salem had prayed for an inquiry by I & B secretary into media reports about him and his girl friend which, he said, were "totally baseless".He also prayed that the inquiry should also find out on what basis such reports were put out.

According to Salems prayer before the court, the respondents (including the government) be directed to impose a total ban on such reports appearing in the media, which talk about investigations being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), the PTI report stated.

Salem had pointed out that "objectionable" materials about him appeared in the media such as seizure of fake passports, Monica Bedi helping him in financial deals and bank accounts being sealed. Dismissing these reports as "entirely baseless", he said this would prejudice the investigations.

Salem was recently extradited from Portugal under inter-governmental agreements and is presently being tried for a host of anti-India activities, including his alleged involvement in serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993 and cricket match fixing.

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