The BJP candidate for the Bangalore South constituency in the 2019 general elections Tejasvi Surya hit national headlines on March 29 when he secured an ex-parte temporary injunction against 49 media organisations from a Bangalore court, after allegations of sexual assault and misbehaviour against him began doing the rounds on social media.
After editorials in The Indian Express, The Hindu, Deccan Herald and Praja Vani, and a public outcry, the court clarified on the injunction, allowing the media to debate the sexual peccadilloes of Surya last week.
It was only then the media began airing the audio tapes in l’affaire Surya (below) featuring more than one wronged woman.
Among the many people Tejasvi Surya, a 28-year-old lawyer, had thanked when he had been picked as the BJP candidate was Pratap Simha, the young journalist who was elected as the MP of Mysore in the 2014 elections, representing BJP.
Well, it turns out he had more than just that to thank Pratap Simha for.
Simha, a well-known even if incendiary columnist first with Vijaya Karnataka and then with Kannada Prabha, had taken the same route as Tejasvi Surya, 40 days earlier, to shut the media by securing a pre-publication gag order.
Simha, like Surya, had chosen the same lawyer: Sudharshan Suresh.
Simha, like Surya, had listed an identical number of defendants: 49
Specifically, Simha’s petition zeroed in on defendants No. 48.
“Presently, he is relying upon a article published in Srinath Pathrike which is defendant No. 48 under the caption ‘Simhada bayige baliyaada hennugaleshtu?‘ (Kannada for how many women have fallen prey to the lion’s mouth?).
“And he also apprehends that a false news will be published in the channel by name ‘Samara News’, which is defendant no. 49.”
Like in Tejasvi Surya’s case, the judge posted the next date of hearing in Simha’s petition to May 29, well after the elections were done and dusted.
And, like in Surya’s case initially, the impugned media organisations preferred not to challenge the injunction.
With just one day to go for the second phase of elections, an audio purporting to be a conversation between Pratap Simha and a woman has gone “viral”. And the woman in the picture has bravely come forward and identified herself.
The woman claims in a petition to the deputy commissioner (returning officer) that “selfies” taken with MP Pratap Simha had been misused by his political opponents.
And the fake news website Post Card News has used the woman’s statement to put out a graphic in support of Simha.
To complete the circle, Tejasvi Surya was the lawyer for Post Card News’s so-called editor when he was arrested for concocting a story that a Jain monk had been attacked by Muslim youth last year.