What they’re saying about Express ‘sue’ report

A 10-page defamation notice sent by the legal advisors of The Indian Express to Open magazine, over an interview granted to the latter by Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of Outlook* magazine, criticising the Express ‘C’ report, is now in the public domain.

The letter—on behalf of the Express, the paper’s editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta, its reporters Ritu Sarin, Pranab Samanta and Ajmer Singh—seeks the removal from Open‘s website of the offending interview and an apology from the magazine and its employees, failing which it threatens a Rs 500 crore lawsuit (Rs 100 crore for each).

The Open interview was conducted by Hartosh Singh Bal, and like in other Express lawsuits, even the web official who put up the interview online has been named.



“There are some things in life that we will perhaps never understand. Like how life came into being. Or the size of the universe. Or the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey and its two follow-ups are bestsellers.

“Or what possessed Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express to not only sue Open magazine for publishing an interview with Vinod Mehta (in which he criticised Indian Express’s story about a potential army coup), but to sue them for some $95 million.”

Anant Rangaswami on First Post:

“The Indian Express, like all of us, including Firstpost, make such comments every day. As Mehta and Open magazine have done. If Mehta describes the original IE story as the mother of all mistakes, this legal notice might cause the Express the mother of all embarrassments.”

The Hoot:

“Rs 100 crore defamation notices are now par for the course. After Justice Sawant‘s suit against Arnab Goswami, and Times Now‘s legal notice for the same damages to The Hoot, we now have Shekhar Gupta and other authors of the Indian Express page one story on April 4 asking Vinod Mehta and Open magazine for  Rs  100 crore (sic) in damages for defaming them.”

Mumbai Mirror:

“What is perhaps not so well known is the long acrimonious history between Vinod and Shekhar, with Outlook often taking pot-shots at the newspaper. All that bad blood has now come to a boil.

“While Open is examining legal options, Vinod, perhaps the only editor to keep this plaque in his office-Hard Work Never Killed Anyone, But Why Take The Risk-is characteristically mild-mannered. ‘What’s the fuss, he (Shekhar) is perfectly entitled to sue me if he wishes to.’

Sanjaya Baru on Facebook:

“Hartosh is a good journalist, but this interview was bad judgement, and giving the dubious Vinod Mehta free run was wrong editorial judgement. Vinod has no business saying what he has, but then what’s new, he is like that only! Glad Shekhar has taken him to court.”

Sevanti Ninan on MxM:

“Vinod Mehta essentially said it was a planted story and it was a huge mistake to carry it. Considering that the first byline on the story was that of the chief editor, that is quite a statement to make. You are saying the chief editor and his colleague are susceptible to plants, thereby seriously questioning their credibility. So I guess the Express could hardly ignore it.”

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Indian Express ‘C’ report: scoop, rehash or spin?

Indian Express stands by its ‘C’ report

How the media viewed the Indian Express ‘C’ report

Aditya Sinha tears into the Indian Express ‘C’ report

Adolf Hitler reacts to the Indian Express ‘C’ report


  1. sairandhri

    Cheap publicity for Open which is like a three year old with severe ADHD. When you are hurtling towards irrelevance in the marketplace, indulge in a bit of media moralising and kick up a storm….

  2. The Notice does not make it clear if the six respondents are expected to remit to the four Express journalists Rs one hundred crore each jointly or severally. And what about Army Chief V K Singh who had described the Express ‘superscoop’ as ‘fables of sick mind’ ?

  3. With DADAGIRI of IE I am convinced that Ahmed Patel along with Chidu were instrumental in planting this story.The fall of IE is complete & irreversible.May soul of Ramnath Goenka live in piece

  4. prem

    The newspaper survives mostly on cheap govt ads and tender ads these days. So, money is a problem. Rs. 500 crore can make a difference to its sagging fortunes. Why not?

  5. Col(retd) Dipu Panvel

    I am amused to read Sanjaya Baru’s comment above, against Vinod Mehta. Mehta in his book Lucknow Boy, describes Baru as a dedicated spreader of mischief between Congress. Party and PM ( Sonia and PM); when Baru was PM’s press adviser. Sonia, it is reported by Mehta, said Baru was like a son to the PM. But the astute lady was aware of games he played during nuclear deal and also Baru’s praise of Ataljee during NDA rule.
    This is the problem with Indian journos. They have no objectivity; they simply carry their old animosities.

    1. Sanjay Baru should have sued Vinod Mehta for calling him a ‘dedicated spreader of mischief’ (if he is not one).

  6. aditi

    Wonder what is stopping Express from taking Chauthi Duniya to court. Why pick only on Open? Someone please explain.

    1. Gulam Ahmed Ansari

      Because ‘they’ know that even if Santosh Bhartiya sells off all his property he won’t be able to generate 500 crores rupees.

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