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Rajeev Chandrasekhar sends legal notice to Shashi Tharoor over 'false allegations' of bribing key voters

Earlier, the Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, claiming a mismatch in actual and declared assets in the affidavit filed by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who is in the fray against former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Thiruvananthapuram Published on: April 10, 2024 17:12 IST
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Shashi Tharoor
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Union Minister and BJP candidate from Thiruvananthapuram Rajeev Chandrasekhar has sent a legal notice to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, accusing the MP of making defamatory statements against him. In his notice, the BJP leader has accused Tharoor of disseminating "patently false information" regarding the bribing of key voters and influential figures such as parish priests, among others, by the BJP candidate.

In the notice, Chandrasekhar has sought Tharoor to "immediately withdraw" all the allegations made against him and tender an "unconditional public apology". Notably, Chandrasekhar has been pitted against Tharoor in the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, which will vote on April 26.

Statements made to harm Chandrasekhar's reputation and image

The legal notice also states that Tharoor has made these statements "with an intent to harm" Rajeev Chandrasekhar's reputation and image. It said that the Congress MP's remarks also disrespected the entire Christian community of Thiruvananthapuram and its leaders, as he had accused them of engaging in cash-for-votes activities.

Chandrasekhar has expressed 'shock' at the allegations made by Shashi Tharoor in a TV interview by a Kerala-based news organization. "Shocked and surprised to watch the news video dated 06.04.2024 on a Malayalam news channel named 24 News, wherein you, the Noticee (Shashi Tharoor), made defamatory statements alleging that Our Client (Rajeev Chandrasekhar) had indulged in illegal activities of offering money to voters and that Our Client is spreading lies in Christian communities. Not only are the said statements totally and completely false but it is clear that the same was made with the clear mala fide intent to tarnish the reputation of Our Client to try and gain an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections," the legal notice further said.

The Congress MP's statements were also in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). 

The notice further claimed the statements were also targeted at injuring the BJP leader's election campaign and benefitting Tharoor in the elections. "It is apprehended that you (Shashi Tharoor) have concocted these allegations and circulated them to influence the voters in Thiruvananthapuram. It is feared that you have engaged in spreading such false news to subvert the process of free and fair elections," the notice further added.

'Tender an unconditional public apology' 

It sought Tharoor to immediately withdraw all the allegations made against Chandrashekhar and tender an unconditional public apology to him.  "Immediately withdraw all the allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee against Our Client, i.e. Rajeev Chandrashekhar on the aforesaid news channel dated 06.04.2024; Tender an unconditional public apology to Our Client to his satisfaction through print and electronic media about the said baseless allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee; and Immediately cease, refrain and desist from defaming, harassing, hampering the reputation of Our Client and spreading any uncalled for rumour and stop indulging in any such activities in the future," the notice read.

Failure to comply with the stated conditions within 24 hours of receipt of the notice would lead to initiation of appropriate criminal and civil proceedings in a competent court of law, the BJP candidate warned.

 'Shashi Tharoor, in desperation...'

Speaking with ANI, the Union Minister said that the Congress leader likely made the allegations “in his desperation". "I think Shashi Tharoor, in his desperation, has flung a lot of allegations at me. One of the allegations is that I am paying money for votes. I have said very clearly that, I will not be drawn into this negative type of politics. However, if anybody defames me and attempts to trespass into an area by telling lies about me, I will certainly not be quiet. I will certainly use all the tools under the law to ensure that that person is held accountable," he said.

Earlier, the  Election Commission issued a directive instructing the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to verify any 'mismatch' in the affidavit details provided by Union Minister Chandrasekhar, who is contesting from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat. This came after the Congress lodged a complaint with the poll panel, claiming a mismatch in actual and declared assets in the affidavit filed by Chandrasekhar.

(With agencies input)

Also Read: After Congress complaint, EC asks CBDT to verify Rajeev Chandrasekhar's poll affidavit details

Also Read: Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha Election 2024: BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar pitted against Shashi Tharoor

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