Editors' Guild slams FIR against 'Hindu' editor

PTI, NEW DELHI | 19 September 2013 16:42 IST

DGP Dinesh Reddy with Habib Mustafa Idrus Baba

The Editors Guild of India termed as "gross abuse of power" registration of an FIR by Hyderabad Police against the resident editor of The Hindu newspaper for publishing a report about Andhra Pradesh DGP's visit to a self-styled godman.

"The action of the Hyderabad city police in registering an FIR against S Nagesh Kumar, Resident Editor of The Hindu, for publishing a report on the Director General of Police, V Dinesh Reddy, meeting Habib Mustafa Idrus Baba represents a gross abuse of power over a personal grievance," the Guild said in a statement here. 

The Hindu carried a report on September 13 about the DGP meeting the self-styled godman at Fateh Darwaza in Hyderabad's Old City on September 12. 

It also said that the DGP's visit assumed significance in the backdrop of the Supreme Court recently directing CBI to probe his assets on a petition filed by another IPS officer Umesh Kumar. 

The Guild said reading of report makes it clear that it is factual and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as inducing the commitment of any offence against the state or against public tranquillity, "nor does it even remotely amount to forgery as alleged in the complaint." 

"The DGP might have been embarrassed by the report, but that hardly makes it an offence under the law. That the complainant, Ram Narasimha Reddy, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Madhapur) and the President of the AP Police Gazetted Officers' Association, is an officer of the police force working under V Dinesh Reddy makes the registration of FIR highly problematical," the Guild said. 

The Chief Minister and the Andhra Pradesh government should ensure that freedom of the press is protected against such abuse of power vested in the hands of the police, the statement said. 

"As this case illustrates, (the police) are not above seeking to cover up their embarrassment by abusing the process of the law," the statement said.

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