CPI(ML) Purnea Candidate Pankaj Singh to File Defamation Case Against Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) for Falsely Alleging Case of IPC Section-373 (Buying minor for purposes of prostitution)

The CPI(ML) Liberation today condemned the report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW) on criminal cases against candidates based on their affidavits. The CPI(ML) Liberation found from press reports on 21 April that the ADR report had stated that the party’s Purnea candidate Pankaj Kumar Singh had cited in his affidavit that he faced a case of IPC Section-373 (Buying minor for purposes of prostitution). The party’s leadership immediately investigated the matter, and found that in fact, the affidavit cited a case of Section 379 (theft), NOT Section 373 IPC. The affidavit nowhere cites any crime against women case.

Several newspapers, agencies and blogs cited the ADR report and prominently featured the alleged 373 case against Comrade Pankaj Singh as the most shocking instance of crime against women by a candidate in the 2014 election. The Purnea election is on 24 April, and today being the last day of campaigning, there is no time for Comrade Pankaj to correct the widespread slur that has been disseminated about him.

The ADR’s methods display a shocking degree of laziness, unprofessionalism and high-handedness. Before making public such a serious allegation against a person in public life, the ADR should, at the very minimum, have cross-checked the facts with the candidate himself, as well as with the police and the concerned magistrate.

The CPI(ML) Liberation condemns the slur against Comrade Pankaj by the ADR, and demands a public statement of correction and apology to be issued by the ADR immediately. The CPI(ML) candidate Comrade Pankaj has taken steps towards filing a defamation suit against the ADR for the damage to his reputation on the eve of elections. The CPI(ML) Liberation also raises concerns about the ADR’s methodology in general, which cites information about criminal cases against candidates, without any information or analysis about the context or background of such cases. If a lay reader were to read the ADR’s latest report, they would come away with the impression that the most notorious criminal candidates in Phase 6 are the Koodankulam anti-nuclear movement leaders Udayakumar and Pushparayan (382 and 380 criminal cases each). Similarly, a large number of CPI(ML) Liberation candidates (and most leaders) have criminal cases against them. Comrade Pankaj Singh, for instance, has led spirited people’s agitation of peasants and adivasis for their rightful land, and against the police atrocity on poor Muslims in Forbesganj – resulting in a host of false FIRs against him, in which he has secured bail. It is well known that the State seeks to harass and tarnish activists by inundating them with cases.

In disseminating information about criminal cases against candidates without any analysis of the context and manner of cases involved, the ADR’s reports actually allow the real gangsters-turned-politicians (or their relatives who contest as their proxies while they are in jail) to camouflage themselves in the crowd – mere trees in a thick forest. The CPI(ML) Liberation calls for greater restraint and responsibility on part of institutions that analyse and disseminate information disclosed in the affidavits. And the CPI(ML) reiterates that the ADR’s release of false and unverified allegations against the party’s Purnea candidate Comrade Pankaj Singh is inexcusable and defamatory.

Kavita Krishnan
Member of the Polit Bureau,
CPI(ML) Liberation