Congress spokesperson and Chairman of Parliament’s Ethics Committee Mr. Abhishekh Manu Singhvi was embroiled in a controversy related to a sex CD widely distributed among media persons. Mr. Singhvi said that the CD was a forgery created by Mr. Mukesh Lal who was formerly employed by him as his chauffeur. Mr. Singhvi thereby obtained a court injunction barring the media from publicizing any content from the CD because it defamed his reputation. He filed a police complaint against Mr. Lal for committing the forgery to defame him. Subsequently Mr. Lal confessed that he had committed the forgery. The two settled the matter out of court and Mr. Lal said that after the settlement he had been assured that there would be no further police action against him.
Mr. Singhvi withdrew his complaint against Mr. Lal and in his petition stated:
“Lal said that he needs a very large amount of money or else he will start spreading false rumours and allegations against Singhvi, including false statements regarding his character and will go to the media and distribute a CD which allegedly depicts alleged sexual acts made allegedly by Singhvi and will not hesitate from making other false claims.”
Is it not fair to surmise that the out of court settlement was made on the basis of this petition and a certain sum of money exchanged hands between Mr. Singhvi and Mr. Lal? If not, what were the terms of the settlement? It is truly astounding that a role model for legal probity in Parliament should openly settle with his former employee after being blackmailed. Blackmail is a serious crime. Mr. Lal even confessed to committing that crime by creating a fraudulent CD.
Instead of punishing a person against whom there was this open and shut case Mr. Singhvi, a distinguished lawyer, actually settled the matter out of court by ostensibly accepting the blackmailer’s demands.
Since Mr. Singhvi claims he is innocent and the CD is a forgery, should he not have insisted on stringent punishment of the culprit? If he succumbed to blackmail to avoid embarrassment caused by a forged CD, his efforts were wasted. The CD was widely seen on the Internet.
What Mr. Singhvi has accomplished therefore is the virtual legitimization of blackmail as a weapon to embarrass innocent victims. What kind of example is the Chairman of the Ethics Committee of Parliament and the spokesperson of the ruling Congress Party setting for the public?