New Delhi, June 2: The website, Cobrapost has been served a legal notice by Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) for their so-called sting ‘Operation 136’, conducted by journalist Pushp Sharma. The Cobrapost has claimed that many media organisation are willing to take money for promoting content relating to Hindutva ideology. The notice has been sent to Pushp Sharma and Cobrapost founder Aniruddha Bahal.
In the notice, ZMCL has called the sting operation as “nothing but a planned conspiracy and set of self-servicing false, fabricated and baseless piece of writing, which in itself is based on tampered, doctored and edited videos”, DNA reported. The notice also added the sting ‘Operation Rashtravaad’ aired on Zee Hindustan exposes the wrong intention of Pushp Sharma- who posed as Acharya Chhatrapal Atal, when he approached Zee officials. Zee, in ‘Operation Rashtravaad’ has claimed to portray the actual facts and conversations that took place between Pushp Sharma and Zee officials.
ZMCL has also issued notices to media organisations such as ‘The Wire’, ‘The Quint’ and ‘Bhadas4Media’, for carrying out news related to the sting operation on their website. The Zee Group has asked for the articles to be pulled down while handing in an apology. The Group has also demanded assurance that no content defaming their organisation would be spread. However, if Cobrapost doesn’t concede to the Group’s demand then, it will file the civil and criminal suits against Cobrapost.
The notice sent to The Wire reads, “it appears that the impugned articles containing defamatory contents have been electronically published by you the Noticees with the specific knowledge and intention to defame our client, by making totally malicious, false, incorrect and defamatory allegations against our client.” The notice sent to The Quint mentioned two stories carried out by the website, relating to the Cobrapost sting operation. The notice says, ” the false and baseless averments, suggestions and imputations are results of incorrect and grossly irresponsible reporting and apparent malafide.”
The so-called Cobrapost ‘sting operation’ was conducted by ‘journalist’ Pushp Sharma, with his alias of Acharya Atal. Pushp Sharma was arrested in May 2016 by Delhi Police for reportedly, fabricating an RTI reply in his story. He was then booked for forgery, cheating, and promoting enmity between different groups. In 2019, he was arrested for extorting money from government officials.